Monkeying Around

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I took these pictures when I went on a family vacation to Nagano, Japan last winter. In Mrs. Lindsay’s Human Evolution class, we watched a video that mentioned a hot spring hotel where Japanese Macaques came to bathe. So, when planning our vacation, I asked my parents if we could stay there for a night. Turns out, the macaques really do come to the baths! In order not to disturb bathers too much, the owners there decided to build a hot spring just for the monkeys a little upstream. There, the monkeys all bathe together to keep warm during the cold winters. I’ve always liked taking pictures of animals, so when I saw these monkeys bathing and grooming together, I was really excited. I probably spent almost an hour taking pictures, but I really could’ve stayed there all day! I was so close to them – within arm’s reach. After a while, they really started to look like people instead of animals; that reminded me about how close we are genetically. I hope I can go back again someday, so that I can take more pictures of these great subjects.

-Nina