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Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta mulatta), male, Gokarna The rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), is a species of Old World monkey native to South, Central, and Southeast Asia. It has the widest geographic range of all non-human primates, occupying a great diversity of altitudes and a great variety of habitats, from grasslands to arid and forested areas, but also close to human settlements. Generally brown or grey in colour, it is 47 to 53 cm (19 to 21 in) in length with a 20.7 to 22.9 cm (8.1 to 9.0 in) tail and weighs 5.3 to 7.7 kg (12 to 17 lb). Due to its wide availability and biological similarity to humans, the rhesus macaque has been used extensively in medical and biological research. It has facilitated breakthroughs including vaccines for rabies, smallpox, and polio and antiretroviral medication to treat HIV/AIDS. A rhesus macaque became the first primate astronaut in 1948, but died during the flight, followed on 14 June 1949 by Albert II, who became the first primate and first mammal in space. This male rhesus macaque, of the subspecies M. m. mulatta, was photographed in the Gokarna Forest, Nepal.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp

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