Geladas, one of the flagship species of Africa’s alpine grasslands, are found only in the Ethiopian Highlands. They are the smallest vestige of a genus that millions of years ago stretched from South Africa to Spain and into India. Once among the most prominent primates—one species was the size of a gorilla—they were likely driven to extinction by climate changes, competition with more adaptable baboons, and our ancestors, who butchered them. Today all that remains of Theropithecus are geladas, which offer valuable, if imperfect, insight into the world inhabited by our predecessors. There is no other animal like them.
Spend a day with this species of Old World monkey in just under two minutes as National Geographic explorer Jeff Kirby narrates their morning rituals, eating and social habits, and how they stay safe from predators after darkness falls.
Read more about the gelada, also called the bleeding heart monkey, at National Geographic: Where the World’s Only Grass-Eating Monkeys Thrive. Plus, listen to What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk.
Next, watch the Fearsome Teeth of the Gelada Baboon.