I wonder how people think about the great ocean rafting hypothesis required to explain the biogeography of monkeys, and many other species
Monkeys crossed the Atlantic Ocean. Really. Some biologists will tell you that humans (and all other apes) are monkeys in an evolutionary sense, so you could say that monkeys have voyaged over the Atlantic many times…in boats, starting with the Vikings, and, later, in planes. But millions of years earlier, monkeys in the normal sense—ones with fur and long tails and no boat-building skills—almost certainly made an unlikely and accidental ocean crossing from Africa to South America.
When I bring up this case of the ocean-crossing monkeys, scientists and non-scientists alike often react with undisguised incredulity. Even people who would normally take me seriously are likely to flash a bemused smile. After all, how could monkeys possibly get across the Atlantic? Even if they were aboard some sort of natural raft (like a clump of vegetation), wouldn’t they die of thirst or starvation long before the trip was over? On “intelligent design” websites, creationists have even argued that the willingness of evolutionists to believe that monkeys crossed the Atlantic just shows how far scientists will go to support Darwin’s theory. (To drive that point home, one website features a cartoon of two monkeys on a raft, arms outspread like Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio on the Titanic , with a sign proclaiming “Brazil or Bust.”).