If Japanese Macaques can 'adapt' to natural, warm pools in snowy parts of Japan, I don't see why humans can't either (not here at http://harbin.org/ though - adaptations often take millions of years & happen to populations). In evolutionary and primatological language, what kind of 'adaptation' have these Macaques made?
For Macaques around warm pools, how would this relate to the concept of troopbonding (Money 1988), an exigency - and a kind of adaptation, but not an adaptation - in terms of evolutionary biology? Would troops of Macaques increased reproductive successes, due to the warmth of hot springs in winter, be significant in an understanding of evolutionare biology or troopbonding?
Adaptations work on genes; prehensile grasp and color vision are 2 examples.
This is apparently something they learned to do recently, c. 1963 ... http://www.tofugu.com/2010/01/13/japanese-snow-monkeys-warm-your-heart-with-hot-springs/ ... I'll try to locate the journal reference ... Humans, of course, have been doing it much longer.
Akira Suzuki, An ecological study of wild Japanese monkeys in snowy areas - focused on their food habits, Primates, 1965, Springer.
Here's a fact sheet - http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets/entry/japanese_macaque. They appear to live mostly in forests, with winter visits to warm pools, and their fur may be an unique adaptation, - but possibly not to warm pools. I'm interested in the possible parallels with human visits to hot springs, in terms of evolution.
Here's World University & School's Primatology page - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Primatology - to which I added the Suzuki reference above. I also found this at the Wisconsin page: "In Shiga Heights in central Japan, the macaques enter and remain in hot springs in the winter, probably to regulate their body temperature behaviorally (Hori et al. 1977)" - not an adaptation though ...
With an interest in evolutionary biology, primates, hot springs, and anthropology, I'm looking to other primate species to begin to think about ways in which hot springs may be significant in their lives. How might one conceive of primates vis-a-vis hot springs in terms of evolutionary biology?
I'm curious, too, how anthropological / ethnographic field work (http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Anthropology) and primatological field work (http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Primatology) can learn from each other.
(http://scott-macleod.blogspot.com/2010/09/japanese-macaques-hot-springs.html - September 29, 2010)