Brinkman & Berlin Brain Rap

This week we welcomed some very special guests to Living Links. Science rapper Baba Brinkman, neuroscientist Heather Berlin and a little baby Brinkman too.

The whole family got involved in enjoying some time at the centre and sharing with the zoo visitors their many talents.

Baba broke out a rap on how we all came from a common ancestor in Africa and highlighted the variety of changes that have occurred in our evolution.

baba rapping kids watching







Then Heather jumped in to tease apart what was going on in Baba’s head as he delivered a freestyle rap.

baba and heather together






And finally baby Brinkman (Hannah) wowed the crowds by demonstrating the human evolutionary trait of bipedalism on a tiny platform.

baby brinkman hand stand







Baba & Heather are performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until Sunday August 24th

Tickets are still available for their show ‘Off the Top’

Our Research co-ordinator Dr Lewis Dean will also be a guest star in their final performance, unfortunately baby Brinkman will be having a nap at this time.



Monkeying Around At Halloween

capuchins 3 with pumpkincapuchin with pumpkin

Keepers at the Living Links Centre have created special Halloween-themed enrichment for the monkeys; spooky pumpkins, paper mache balloons and ice lollies have been hung from the trees in the outdoor enclosures.

Sophie Pearson, Team Leader for Living Links and the Budongo Trail, said:

“All of the keepers have spent several days working on the Halloween surprise for our monkeys and we love coming up with new enrichment ideas for them to enjoy. We have made spooky faces on paper mache balloons and filled Halloween cups with frozen treats. They also don’t often get pumpkin so this will be an extra special surprise for them!

“Capuchins are very intelligent and inquisitive, with their own individual personalities, and it is great fun waiting to see how they will interact with the various activities or treats they receive. By hanging the enrichment in the trees, there is an added level of complexity, which will mean the capuchins will have to use their prehensile tails and excellent climbing skills to reach their treats.

“They are also quite destructive and simply love to pull things apart, just like little children.”

The Halloween enrichment will provide both mental and physical stimulation for the monkeys, as well as provide visitors with the opportunity to see the troupe display natural behaviours normally seen in the wild. The capuchins at Edinburgh Zoo regularly receive enrichment that utilises their problem solving skills and encourages team work within the complex social hierarchy.

66.6666666…% of the Festival of the Spoken Nerd visit Living Links.

Fresh from their recent run at the Edinburgh Fringe ‘Festival of the Spoken Nerd’ musical comedian Helen Arney and stand-up mathematician Matt Parker take time out to visit Living Links and pose in our ‘Primate Family Tree’ mural. We also twisted their arms to record something suitable for the young audience that gathered!

See Helen in ‘Voice of an Angle’ at the Underbelly, Edinburgh now until 26th August.

Date for your diary – free public lecture in Edinburgh from the Physiological Society

Poster: Physiological Society Lecture

by Professor Gareth Leng. Discover how your brain helps you to bond with babies and lovers, and probe the mind of one of Edinburgh’s leading neuroscientists

18.30, Tuesday 3 July, Edinburgh International Conference Centre The Exchange, Edinburgh, EH3 8EE

Visitor day and seminar…

Living Links “Twenty-first Century Research Associated with Twenty-first Century Zoos”

Visitor Day and Seminar, Living Links and Budongo Trail, Edinburgh Zoo

This event was occasioned by a visit of the eminent primatologist Dr Josep Call, Scientific Director of the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Centre, Max Planck Institute and Leipzig Zoo, and Professor Neville Richardson, Master of the United College, University of St. Andrews.

Talks took place in the Budongo Lecture Theatre with overviews of research in Living Links, Budongo-Edinburgh and the Budongo Conservation Field Station in Uganda, by Professor Andrew Whiten, Dr Katie Slocombe and Dr Cat Hobaiter.

These were followed by a headline talk on research in the Köhler Centre, Leipzig Zoo. Dr Josep Call.