Touch and the Immune System in Rhesus Monkeys
Rhesus monkeys, like most advanced primate species, engage in a lot of touching in their day-to-day activities. Figure 8.1 illustrates a typical family grouping of rhesus monkeys, with a mother and her newborn infant nursing and contacting the mother ventrally. A grandmother and some siblings are also involved in the scene. This is quite typical of rhesus monkey family life in both wild and captive settings. That is, these monkeys engage in a great deal of social contact in a variety of forms, and this contact has both behavioral and physiological consequences. Much of this contact is provided and initiated by the infants in their family group.