The Phoenix

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shock the monkey!

I love monkeys. Why? Because they're cute and so human-like. It seems lately science has made some incredible discoveries concerning our genetic cousins. So I decided to do a quick collection of stories on monkeys that have made scientific headlines in the last week or so:

Monkeys scream code words.
Klaus Zuberbuhler of the University of St. Andrews, UK has found that putty-nosed monkeys use vocal language in order to communicate with members of their troop. His findings are being published in the May 18th issue of Nature.

These african rainforest monkeys were seen and heard making two distinct calls in order to warn each other. The dominant male was put in charge of warning the others of two main dangers: eagles and big cats. If he gives a loud "pyow" warning, the monkeys flee up the trees to flee from an oncoming tiger or leopard. If his warning is a "hack" vocalization, the monkeys get down from above to keep from getting skewed by an eagle's sharp talons.

Interesting, when the female lets out any vocal warnings, the males continue to fatten themselves with bananas and coconuts, and ignore the call. Scientists noticed this occured most often on Sunday or when it was time to take out the trash. Scientists also heard the monkeys screaming "doo-bee" and I believe that's to warn the others of poop being flung.

Monkeys are chicken too.
M. Keith Chen, Venkat Lakshminarayanan, and Laurie R. Santos recently published an article in the Journal of Political Economy in which they studied the behavior of capuchin monkeys in order to learn more about how humans develop risk-aversion types of behaviors in economic situations.

They presented the monkeys with two different types of payoffs:
1) Spend a token on one piece of apple presented to them, but half the time the monkeys were given one bonus piece of food

2) Spend a token on two apple pieces, but half the time the monkeys got gyped and only got one piece of food instead

Economic theory dictates that consumers shouldn't really care which way to spend their tokens, since the outcomes are 50-50 shots at one or two pieces of delicious apple. However, the monkeys displayed risk-aversion behavior and overwhelmingly spent their tokens using payoff #1.
Like humans, the monkeys weighed the chances of LOSS more than the odds of GAINS. In other words, they played the game to not lose instead of playing the game to win.

Also, many of the monkeys threw tantrums often seen at Wall Street and casinos when they only got one apple slice instead of the two they were shown. Yup, you guessed it, they flung their poop when extremely frustrated with the gamble.

Hot monkey sex?
Scientists have been studying the human genome, and comparing it to various apes. They came across a surprising and shocking discovery:

Humans and chimps might have gotten freaky with one another.

David Reich, a population geneticist at the Broad Institute and Harvard University, used a "molecular clock" in order to trace when humans, chimps, and gorillas' genes diverged. His findings were published May 17th in New Scientist. Tracing the lineage, scientists found evidence that humans and chimps might have mated.

They noted that chimps and humans are nearly identical with relation to the X-chromosome (the female chromosome) and using this molecular clock, it suggests that early humans and monkeys created hybrid offspring 6.3 million years ago.

Does this mean there are humans out there that have this ingrained need to fling their poop?


Blogger Keshi said...

Hot Monkey Mommas ha? lol was funny and quite informative :)


thanks, will be using this often now..whenever I get pissed with ppl lol!


5/17/2006 10:57 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

So, if your monkey starts to sing Sinatra,

Do Be Do Be Do,

run like hell!

5/18/2006 1:51 AM  
Blogger Grafs said...

It just goes to show that we're all animals. I have to say that flinging doobee is right out, though.

5/18/2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Curare_Z said...

Isn't it Jacques the Monkey? (That's what Amulet told me the name of that song was).

I think we should all adopt "doo-bee" as our code word. As in:

Man, you're full of doo-bee.

I don't give a doo-bee.

You're up doo-bee creek.

5/18/2006 8:07 AM  
Blogger Cari said...

I heard about the monkey & human gettin it on thing this morning!!!

Beastiality much?


5/18/2006 8:11 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Watch it! Here comes my poop...


I feel better now, thanks.

5/18/2006 8:17 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

keshi, I don't wanna even think about hot monkey mamas.

jim, and take cover.

grafs, there's a right time and place for everything. If gangs would fling poop during drive-bys, they could get their aggressions out and doing it safer, for example.

curare, Or like when the doo-bee hits the fan.

cari, Many diseases jump from primates to humans in this manner, like AIDS for example. I'm just having a tough time...imagining...YUCK.

brianalt, Is that poop? Or are you down to 17 now, according to doctor's orders?

5/18/2006 8:22 AM  
Blogger cube said...

As a rule, I hate monkeys (OK, the Third World ones are sometimes cute), bt it's a long story. I did like your Arafat monkey ;-)

And I also noticed the little one with the glasses looks just like the avatar of fellow blogger Cary Cartter with 2 T's)

5/18/2006 8:28 AM  
Blogger Mojotek said...

Ha! The economic theory part was my favorite! Amazing that they can show similar risk-aversion behavior to us humans.

Interesting that even primates "play to NOT lose" rather than play to win too.

5/18/2006 8:39 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

cube, did you have a flung poop traumatic story of your own?

mojo, I think it can also be applied to sports. Those that just let go and play to win more often do.

5/18/2006 8:44 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Humans fling shit at each other every day. Just not in the same way as monkeys.

5/18/2006 8:53 AM  
Blogger BrianAlt said...

Phoenix, all of the above.


5/18/2006 8:57 AM  
Blogger Perplexio said...

Actually, I'm more curious-- Are we humans chimplike or are the chimps human-like?

Do humans exhibit monkey traits or are the monkeys exhibiting human traits?

5/18/2006 9:00 AM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

mimi, very true! Lots of stung being flung back and forth. Maybe we need a time-out.

brianalt, ROCK ON!

perplexio, tomato - tomahto.

5/18/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger ozymandiaz said...

OK, that last one was not about ME! I know about the pictures but they are forgeries.

5/18/2006 9:16 AM  
Blogger angel, jr. said...

A human who has a fascination with poop actually has it's own psychiatric term--coprophilia. Not so much a fling thing, but a smearing thing.

5/18/2006 9:33 AM  
Blogger Jon Cox said...

Thank you so much!! :o)
Haha, you have the coolest pictures & entries!!!!

5/18/2006 10:45 AM  
Anonymous WonderGirl said...

I love the monkey in glasses. I want to adopt him.

Okay, maybe it's a passing fancy. But maybe not. Maybe I could really love that monkey like a son.

Until he threw poop at me.

5/18/2006 11:34 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

This post brings me back to God vs. Darwin, and evolution. I seriously have a HUGE problem believing we evolved from monkeys. NOW, you're telling me PRIMATES AND HUMANS got it on????? ACK! I hope that's just doo-beeee!!

5/18/2006 11:48 AM  
Anonymous delmer said...

I read a study, years ago, about monkeys -- female monkeys -- trading sex for something from the male monkeys... food, I think.

I'm pretty sure it wasn't jewelry.

5/18/2006 1:18 PM  
Blogger crallspace said...

Do a google video search for GG ALLIN for an answer to whether or not people have an inherent desire to fling their poop.

5/18/2006 1:40 PM  
Blogger Dirk the Feeble said...

Well I've never flung poo before, but I have to say that the idea does interest me a little. Something to do this evening, I guess.

5/18/2006 1:56 PM  
Blogger :P fuzzbox said...

Maybe the hybrid theory explains the mullet.

5/18/2006 2:16 PM  
Blogger Kyahgirl said...

you're so funny Phoenix. Every time have more fun than a barrel of monkeys. :-)

5/18/2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

ozy, oh, ok. I should've known you fling poop with your left hand.

angel, I think most boys under 15 have coprophilia. In fact, most guys I know still laugh at poop jokes.

jon, Thanks buddy.

WG, Many babies and kids play with their poop anyway.

dabich, It's a controversial argument, but I don't think you have to necessarily chose one OR the other. I believe in God, but I also believe he put in motion the wave of Mother Nature. Evolution is simply a part of that.

5/18/2006 2:46 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

delmer, Yes. That was an interesting study. Also primates have sex purely for pleasure like humans.

crallspace, Holy shitzu!!!!

dirk, Make sure to get a lot of fiber today then. You'll thank me later.

Fuzz, You have a point there. It's our version of a fuzzy tail.

kyhagirl, Thanks so much! I don't think a barrel of monkeys is so much fun though. (Think Duke lacrosse team).

5/18/2006 2:48 PM  
Blogger Yawn said...

I have the ingrained need to throw poop. I'm banned from the Washington D.C., San Diego, and Dallas zoos for acting on this undesirable urge and lobbing logs at the chimps behind bars. They look at me like I'm some kind of freak, well I'll show them those damn monkeys!

5/18/2006 3:01 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Monkey see, monkey do!

Oh well, that's monkeyin' around for ya!!


5/18/2006 6:14 PM  
Blogger Anhoni Patel said...

gorillas are supposed to have very smale penises. i read somewhere that in some countries it's an insult to tell a man "you have a gorilla penis".

anyhoo, just thought I'd mention that...

5/18/2006 6:17 PM  
Blogger O Ceallaigh said...

As it happens, ravens (which are surprisingly social birds) also use vocal cues to warn against specific predators (those from above vs. from below). So that vocal cue stuff's not so special. But if you could find a monkey who quoth "Nevermore", you'd have something.

human-chimp hybrids? Sounds exotic, but one has to remember that, six million years ago, there wasn't much in it. My knuckle walking's better than your knuckle walking.

5/18/2006 6:23 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

I adore to watch the monkeys. I remember when I was small (eons ago) a baby monkey holding onto my little finger through the bars of his cage at the zoo.
Then there was the scarier time when some of the chimps at Chester Zoo caught a duck who swam to close to their island and they proceeded to have a game of catch with it.
The duck was rescued by a keeper and { I think ) it was ok ...

5/18/2006 7:31 PM  
Blogger phred said...

Monkeys scare me, much the same way babies scare Big D. They are not to be trusted.

5/18/2006 7:38 PM  
Blogger vani said...

my favorite are baby chimps. i was jelous of michael jackson when he owned

5/18/2006 7:43 PM  
Blogger The Phoenix said...

yawn, "those damn dirty apes!"

karen, I feel like such a monkey's uncle.

anhoni, Um...thanks for that factiod concerning the gorillia genitalia

o ceallaigh, or maybe a bird that flings its poop

pixie, See! Monkeys play football too.

phred, Curious George could be trusted!

vani, You were jealous of Michael Jackson? Hmmmm...

5/18/2006 8:13 PM  
Blogger David Amulet said...

Monkey business indeed! I heard this week about some bears in a zoo eating a monkey ... that's not as good as your monkey stories.

-- david

5/18/2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger kim said...

I believe I read that when they taught the monkeys to gamble and spend money, they actually tried to buy sex off female monkeys. I'll see if I can dig that up.

Great post! Monkeys are fun.

5/18/2006 9:10 PM  
Blogger kim said...

Yeah, here here:

Something else happened during that chaotic scene, something that
convinced Chen of the monkeys' true grasp of money. Perhaps the most
distinguishing characteristic of money, after all, is its fungibility,
the fact that it can be used to buy not just food but anything. During
the chaos in the monkey cage, Chen saw something out of the corner of
his eye that he would later try to play down but in his heart of hearts
he knew to be true. What he witnessed was probably the first observed
exchange of money for sex in the history of monkeykind. (Further proof
that the monkeys truly understood money: the monkey who was paid for
sex immediately traded the token in for a grape.)

This is a sensitive subject. The capuchin lab at Yale has been built
and maintained to make the monkeys as comfortable as possible, and
especially to allow them to carry on in a natural state. The
introduction of money was tricky enough; it wouldn't reflect well on
anyone involved if the money turned the lab into a brothel. To this
end, Chen has taken steps to ensure that future monkey sex at Yale
occurs as nature intended it.

But these facts remain: When taught to use money, a group of capuchin
monkeys responded quite rationally to simple incentives; responded
irrationally to risky gambles; failed to save; stole when they could;
used money for food and, on occasion, sex. In other words, they behaved
a good bit like the creature that most of Chen's more traditional
colleagues study: Homo sapiens.

5/18/2006 9:13 PM  
Blogger PDD said...

Oh so that explains David Hasselhoff.

5/18/2006 9:50 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

You are disturbed, and it's irresistable.

Also, I don't think monkeys are human-like. I think humans are monkey like.

5/18/2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

You are disturbed, and it's irresistable.

Also, I don't think monkeys are human-like. I think humans are monkey like.

5/18/2006 11:58 PM  
Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

I have taken a few dogs out in my life but never a monkey.

Flinging poo? Is this a new aphrodesiac?

5/19/2006 1:46 AM  
Blogger Keshi said...

lol hehehehe :)


5/19/2006 1:57 AM  
Blogger DaBich said...

LOL at pdd!!! Priceless!

5/19/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger KC said...

As you already know, I work with a theatre company called The Magic Smoking Monkey Theatre. We once got a voicemail from someone who was contemplating coming to see one of our shows, but wanted to make sure that we weren't harming the monkeys in any way. Duh. People actually think we're using monkeys as actors? Well, maybe it's photos like this that confuse them

5/19/2006 10:57 AM  
Blogger Etchen said...

You know, your blog just makes my day. Thanks for yet again another great laugh!

5/19/2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger starbender said...

hahaaa! They are sooo cute. I always wanted one! They are messy though. ....hmmmm...... I think when they yell "doo-bee" it really means.......BURNING!

5/19/2006 4:26 PM  
Blogger Carmel said...

After reading this, I can no longer say that i'm uninformed about chimps! =)

5/20/2006 5:58 AM  
Blogger Phats said...

Monkeys are fascinated that's why their habitat at the zoo is always the most popular haha. I can tumble like the monkeys :)

That last picture is a little scary

5/20/2006 5:32 PM  
Blogger Ben Heller said...

I saw this on TV. It is absolutely amazing that they have their own language. Although I am led to believe that as yet, they are not able to swear.

5/21/2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

The humans/chimps mating thing is grrrross, and I don't believe it for a split second. Poppycock!

The female monkeys who are being ignored need to learn the art of testicular squeezing. For some reason, the males ears perk up when their balls are firmly squeezed. Human males have this same reaction, although the human females may not be heard over the cries of the males unless they raise their voices significantly.

5/21/2006 7:33 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Main Page

Established 2005...

Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by science is always stranger than fiction


To Enlighten & Entertain!

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

 Subscribe in a reader

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

  • Site design by Pixie