Oh my God, so I’ve been obsessed with Boo the Monkey for some time now, but some stress/shitty weather-induced anxiety has made the presence of a monkey very necessary.
I’m very against owning monkeys. I watched a documentary called “My Child is a Monkey” that was incredibly scarring. Basically this horrible stereotype of an obese American family was raising a monkey as a surrogate child and kept feeding it pasta and Caesar salad until it got diabetes, which still wasn’t enough to wake them from their horrible, horrible delusions and Fat American-ness as they slowly killed their pet with the contents of an Olive Garden buffet.
The other woman profiled in the documentary I recognized from a prior emotionally scarring journalistic exploration of therapy pets that aired on Animal Planet about 15 years ago. This woman was suffering from severe… lip burns. From tanning. Outdoors. In the sun. The phrase I just burned my lips really bad has been haunting me for over a decade. She felt her condition warranted the use of a helper monkey, monkeys that are usually trained to treat people who are quadripelegic. I vividly remember her describing her total despair over her perceived immobility and how the monkey would come and push a bendy straw to her face so she could take sips of water.
Imagine if Deven Green’s character in “Welcome to my House” bought a monkey. It was kind of like that.
Anyways this woman has now spearheaded the monkey child movement and is teacher others how to declaw and defang their monkeys and diaper them and dress them in toddler clothes. Apparently there’s going to be some monkey public breastfeeding debate coming to your town soon if they don’t kill them all with never-ending pasta bowls first.
For the record, Monkey Boo seems very sweet and well taken care of and I haven’t seen him in people clothes or eating pasta even once.
But holy shit, this was the thing I actually wanted to share. My in depth zoological research led me to the most incredible article I have read in a long time.
Apparently Yale led a research experiment to determine whether a group of capuchin monkeys could be taught the concept of currency. Over a series of months the monkeys were given silver coins and shown they could be exchanged for a grapes (lower cost but less appealing) or cubes of Jello (higher cost but more appealing.) Once the concept of currency was established, they then ran experiments testing the groups altruism (whether they would hit a lever releasing a treat to their partner, knowing they would not necessarily receive a treat in kind,) their response to the concept of gambling (both betting in order to gain something, and betting in order not to lose something,) and their response to market shocks (increasing the cost of treats, or artificially creating a shortage.)
The monkeys made relatively the same choices as humans would, at relatively the same rates (so if offered a similar gambling opportunity, roughly 40% of both monkeys and humans would accept, and on average would also bet on the same outcome.)
But that isn’t even the crazy part. The monkeys also demonstrated two behaviors after being taught the concept of currency (and the ability to attain wealth) that the researchers weren’t prepared for.
1. Those bitches stole.
Not on a basic snatch and grab level that I’m sure is pretty common in the animal kingdom, but in an orchestrated robbery. Apparently the monkeys lived in an enclosed habitat with a door at one end that could be used to usher them into a smaller enclosure for conducting tests. One day a monkey went rogue and waited for the door to be opened for testing time, bolted into the other room, grabbed a tray of coins and flung them through the still open door, then ran back into the habitat to feverishly pick everything up before the other monkeys could.
2. They went on the ho stroll
One of the researchers witnessed a male monkey giving a female monkey a coin in exchange for sex. He basically tried to give them the benefit of the doubt, but damned if that female monkey didn’t go buy a grape as soon as the act was over. The monkeys had to be more closely policed afterwards, for fear it would reflect poorly upon Yale it looked like they were running a monkey brothel. Tell me that’s not the aspect of animal behavior you would be way more interested in. I mean would others participate? Would the more attractive monkeys charge more? What about the males? Would anyone go gay-for-pay? I have so many questions about a monkey hooker economy. It would reveal so much about our own world.
Tell me that doesn’t give you more respect for animals. That study is more persuasive than any PETA campaign.
Monkey article: “Monkey Business” New York Times, June 5, 2005