Did you know?, Vagaries

On Cooperation; Part 3: Monkeys and Hunting

For some reason, some people like to hunt pigs by throwing baboons at them. I can only go with the comment posted below the video: “Not sure if hilarious or horrible.”

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1bcuyt_monkeys-riding-pigs-is-the-greatest-game-ever_animals

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Thank you, Annika!

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Aping Culture, Did you know?

On Cooperation, Part 2: Monkeys and the City

Only in India: How do you get rid of monkeys you don’t want to have breaking into parliament and stealing top secret documents? Easy. You hire someone to play monkey and intimidate the other monkeys:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/for-indian-wallahs-monkey-business-has-literal-meaning-1407119401

Apparently, this cultivation of fear is bearing fruits (as the Private Eye states):

Cultivation of Fear

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Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Benjamin, and thank you for the addendum, Seán!

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The Art of Eating

Too much summer and work to make this blog a more frequent output of my findings. But today, a short note on eating habits: Apparently, among primates everything is, well, fair game. Fruits and vegetables, of course (almost all of us). Leaves, oh yum, (a lot of us, especially the mountain gorillas and humans). Insects, well, yes (come on, everybody does it, and be it the odd bug on your salad leaf). Smaller vertebrates, ok. Larger vertebrates, ehm, if you need to… (baboons, chimpanzees and humans)? But then: Bark (Japanese macaques, gorillas, humans). Rotten fish, spat out by the see (Japanese macaques). Octopus straight from the sea (again, Japanese macaques). Own feces (gorillas). Conspecifics’ kids (chimpanzees: proven, gorillas: suspected, humans: at least in fairy tales).

Further reading on this menu: Dian Fossey: Gorilla’s in the Mist (1985); W.C. McGrew: Culture in Nonhuman Primates? Annual Review of Anthropology, 27 (1998); Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm: Hänsel und Gretel (1812); Jane Goodall: In the Shadow of Man (1971); Desmond Morris: The Naked Ape (1967); Naofumi Nakagawa, Masayuki Nakamichi, Hideki Sugiura (Ed.): The Japanese Macaques (2010); Shirley C. Strum: Almost Human (1987); Richard Wrangham, Dale Peterson: Demonic Males (1996).

 

mfa_netsuke_monkey_struggling_with_octopus_7

Did you know?

The Art of Eating

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My New Favourite Monkey

A punk set of hair, a cool beard, and a nice touch of sexual ambivalence, but it is all in the name game: Meet De Brazza’s Monkey (common name), cladistically and quite accurately known as Cercopithecus neglectans, also called a species of the Genuon genus. And this is where it gets spicy: ‘guenon’ might be an asexual sign for a genus in English, but in French a ‘guenon’ is always and for ever solely: a female monkey or ape. Add to this the enticing white stripe that runs down its thigh, as Wikipedia informs me, the punky hairdo in orange and the white goatie which is matched by its white eyelids and there is some sort of entertaining drag theme going on already. But this not being enough, this species is also, colloquially, called Ayatollah monkey – in reverence of the beard and possibly the booming noise it communicates with, but surely in evidence of a common bout of strange zoologist humor…

Did you know?

My New Favourite Monkey

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Aping Culture, Did you know?

Die Affen Gottes

The perks of living in a town with a solid mediaval history: charming quirks all around – and some of them even relate to what my head has to cope with every day. Where better to write a dissertation on Apes and Affect than in a city known for its masons (Zunftgesellschaft zum Affen) who liken themselves to apes and their imitative proficiency?

Thanks for directing me to this finding: Fermin.

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Did you know?, Informational, Vagaries

Interspecies communication, Part 2: The Interspecies Internet

While Koko the Gorilla, Kanzi the Bonobi, Peter the Dolphin, Nim the Chimpanzee and Alex the Parrot are already chatting away at their human language teachers and researchers (mostly about “Give me food”, “Take me away from these ugly apes” and “I am bored.”), there are dozens if not hundreds of species out there who might have something to say to their human captors, eh, co-habitants.

Luckily, Research, Commerce and Art, those muses of our day and age, put their heads together and  and came up with a proposition to at least enable a more reciprocal communication between “them” and “us”, that is: human and non-human animals. An Interspecies Web: http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/28/the-interspecies-internet-diana-reiss-peter-gabriel-neil-gershenfeld-and-vint-cerf-at-ted2013/

While I am kind of interested in how this furthers research with animals and over all an evolution of human-animal-ethics, I think it strange that this account ends once again with the wish to be able to call up ET and his conspecifics. Isn’t understanding what a possibly malicious dolphin really wants when he/she bumps you under water enough for a scientific revolution?

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Human-animal communication, according to the omnipresent first-look-source Wikipedia, “is the communication observed between humans and other animals, from non-verbal cues and vocalizations through to, potentially, the use of a sophisticated language.” While some might still be looking for the right way to get their pets to do what they try to tell them by yelling commands at their puzzled faces, this eager monkey has it all figured out: “Who needs sophisticated language? I can get the human to do a useless task any time I want, you just watch and learn!”