In the mid-1600s, green monkeys from Africa were introduced to the West Indies island of Barbados. Despite living a predator-free life for centuries, the Barbados population still responds to an ancestral alarm call that means, roughly translated, “Run up a tree or a leopard will eat you!”
One of the primary benefits of group living is that it helps animals avoid becoming dinner for hungry predators. Many species increase their chances of survival by utilizing so-called “alarm calls,” which serve to warn other group members of imminent danger. For some animals, such as vervet monkeys (Chloroecbus pygerythrus), the alarm system is quite complex.