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Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) aim to help disabled patients by translating neural signals from the brain into control signals for guiding prosthetic arms, computer cursors, and other assistive devices. Animal models are central to the development of these systems and have helped enable the successful translation of the first generation of BMIs. As we move toward next-generation systems, we face the question of which animal models will aid broader patient populations and achieve even higher performance, robustness, and functionality. We review here four general types of rhesus monkey models employed in BMI research, and describe two additional, complementary models. Given the physiological diversity of neurological injury and disease, we suggest a need to maintain the current diversity of animal models and to explore additional alternatives, as each mimic different aspects of injury or disease.