Jun
16
2008

Monkey business

Sizing up the competition: Capuchin monkeys can be trained to use money, and react to it in surprisingly humanlike ways.
Sizing up the competition: Capuchin monkeys can be trained to use money, and react to it in surprisingly humanlike ways.Courtesy Arriving at the horizon

Researchers in Italy have taught capuchin monkeys how to use money to buy food in lab experiments. The monkeys were observed making simple economic decisions.

The study is not yet available on-line, but it sounds an awful lot like this research from Yale, published last year. There, the monkeys not only learned to use money, but to respond to price fluctuations, and even to steal. However, they could not budget and they gambled irrationally – a lot like their hominid cousins.

There was also an incident of flinging feces at fellow monkeys who did not play by the rules – perhaps the most dismal experiment in the history of the dismal science.

Gone fishin': A long-tailed macaque in Thailand demonstrates its unorthodox technique.
Gone fishin': A long-tailed macaque in Thailand demonstrates its unorthodox technique.Courtesy nittynorn

Meanwhile in Indonesia, industrious long-tailed macaque monkeys aren't waiting for handouts. They are supporting themselves by observed fishing, scooping fish from the water with their bare hands and eating them.

This is the first documented evidence of fishing in this species, though other primates – including baboons, chimps and orangutans – are known to fish. Researchers believe this behavior in macaques is an indication of their flexibility and ability to adapt to new conditions.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

freakles's picture
freakles says:

first of all i would like to take the chance to say that, it is sooo cool that they were able teach the monkeys to deal wit money that right there is already more than some humans get the right to learn !!! but i would also like to say that it is a terribley sad thing that the mokneys are already stealing it really shows that no matter what some how the sinning side of all creatures comes out !! no matter if they are human of they are another one of Gods creatures!

posted on Thu, 07/24/2008 - 3:45pm
sandy09's picture
sandy09 says:

WOW!!! i didnt know that monkeys could get smarter!! well hopefully the monkeys won't take money away when they see it somewhere else like money thats on the table!

posted on Thu, 10/23/2008 - 5:05pm

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