even monkeys do it

i love primates! especially the non-human ones. (humans — meh. i can take ’em or leave ’em. (~_^) ) non-human primates are so … human sometimes! or, rather, if you watch how they behave, you can really see that we’re just a bunch o’ fur-less primates running around. (^_^) (of course, even the behaviors of beetles reminds me that we are just organic creatures, so you shouldn’t really listen to me.)

here’s some nice research on altruistic behavior (grooming!) amongst macaques in japan. it’s cool to see how the amount of grooming between relatives tapers off as the relatedness between individuals becomes more distant. from “The Monkeys of Arashiyama” [pgs. 212-13]:

“Table 1 shows the number of possible pairs and the number of grooming pairs formed, according to the relatedness of the monkeys. From this table, it is apparent that while only 6.3% of the possible number of unrelated pairs formed grooming pairs, 43.9% of the possible number of related pairs were observed to groom. Moreover, between mothers and their offspring, 85.9% of the possible number of these pairs formed grooming pairs. For the second degree of relatedness, 43.9% of the possible pairs formed grooming pairs (siblings 48.9%, grandmother-grandoffspring 9.3%). For the third degree of relatedness, 21.7% of the possible pairs formed grooming pairs. For the fourth degree of relatedness, 8.7% of the possible pairs formed grooming pairs. These results suggest that both the age-sex and the degree of relatedness between individuals strongly influenced the formation of grooming pairs.”

a little bit to the left, please. yes. right there. ahhhhhhhhhh!

previously: even plants do it and more plants playing favorites and even ROBOTS do it!

(note: comments do not require an email. mine! no, mine!)



  1. 86% – 44% – 22% – 9%

    grooming is the monkey equivalent of medicare or public libraries


  2. OT, but a funny story from my neck of the woods. An anthropologist in our local college adopted an infant orangutan as part of an experiment to see if it could learn the rudiments of human language. One day she was pushing it around in her shopping basket in our neighborhood grocery store. We live in a tiny town in which everyone is friendly. A nearby lady shopper walked over to her to coo at her baby. But upon looking into the basket she exclaimed, with great sympathy, “Oh, I’m so sorry!”


  3. One of the reasons I go to church is to suppress my monkey nature; the Natural Man, as it were. I do believe, to use the language of the physicists, that a human is an angel superimposed upon a monkey. I trust Jesus to help me be more cool-headed and rational and less monkey-like than I otherwise would be.

    Sorry (not really) to get all Christian on you like that, but the bishop was in town yesterday, and presided, and his sermon really got to me.


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