23 October 2007

New Dehli Mayor dethroned, killed by Monkey God

I normally try and steer clear of zany stories but this one was just impossible to ignore.

Associated Press is reporting aggressive monkeys have been blamed for the death of a senior Indian official.

The deputy mayor of New Delhi was on the balcony of his home when he was attacked by a gang of Rhesus macaques causing him to fall off said balcony. He was rushed to the hospital but died of head injuries.

The Rhesus Macaque is characterised as a vociferous monkey.

Many government buildings, temples and residential neighborhoods in New Delhi are overrun by Rhesus macaques. Devout Hindus believe the monkeys are manifestations of a monkey god and feed them bananas and peanuts. That has encouraged the monkeys to frequent public places, and bite or snatch food from unsuspecting visitors.

The Rhesus Macaque (Macaca mulatta), often called the Rhesus Monkey, is one of the best known species of "Old World" monkeys.

The Old World monkeys are a group of primates unlike apes in that most have tails and unlike the New World monkeys in that their tails are never prehensile. A prehensile tail is the tail of an animal that has adapted to be able to grasp and hold objects.

Several Old World monkeys have anatomical oddities. The colobus monkeys have a stub for a thumb to assist with their arboreal movement; the Proboscis Monkey has an extraordinary nose while the snub-nosed monkeys have almost no nose at all; the penis of the male Mandrill is coloured red and the scrotum has a lilac color, while the face also has bright coloration like the genitalia and this develops in only the dominant male of a multi-male group. While Rhesus Macaques are sexually dimorphic.

The Old World monkeys are native to Africa and Asia today, but are also known from Europe in the fossil record. They include many of the most familiar species of non-human primates such as baboons and macaques.

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