Yep, Monkeys Like Porn Too

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The question that's been eating at you for so long, finally, has been answered: monkeys like porn, too! Researchers at Duke University (birthplace of mental_floss!) conducted an experiment to find out how adult male rhesus macaques responded to monkey versions of porn and trashy celeb magazines. Here's how it worked:

Four of the male monkeys sat in front of computer screens. They were rewarded with juice whenever they shifted their gaze from one image to another. Some images resulted in more juice than other photos. When given the choice between a photo of a low-status male with a high juice reward and a photo of a female's hindquarters, the male test subjects refused the extra juice so that they could gaze at the sexy female images. They also "paid" with juice to see photos of high-status males. Conversely, the male monkeys required extra payment, meaning more juice, to view the faces of low-status males and females.

brad_pitt_12_monkeys.jpgIt seems to make perfect sense that the male monkeys would "pay" to see female hindquarters; more unexpected was their response to "high-status" males. Interestingly, even after having paid to see those male pictures, the monkeys wouldn't maintain eye contact with the pictured monkeys for very long; one researcher explains their behavior this way: "'It is like a star-struck fan who waits for hours to see a favorite movie star, say Brad Pitt, but then is so star-struck that she immediately averts her eyes downward shyly.'"

Yet another seemingly human-like bit of monkey behavior: apparently monkeys are willing to pay for sex as well as trade juice for porn. That's right, the world's oldest profession has made inroads into the animal kingdom -- Animal Behavior reported earlier this year that male macaques in Indonesia were known to trade grooming services for sex. The grooming was always done first, offered up as a kind of pre-sex ritual.

So with all this evidence pointing to monkeys sharing our obsessions with sex and celebrities, can we say with certainty that monkeys and man are two of a kind? Perhaps this vintage sketch from The State can shed some light on the question:

May 8, 2008 - 3:35am
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