Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Male Monkeys Hold Babies To Make Friends

monkey malesIt's easy to make friends when you are holding a baby, suggests a new study that found male Barbary macaques have a better chance of bonding with each other when at least one is hauling around an infant.

The study, which has been accepted for publication in the journal Animal Behavior, is among the first to demonstrate that infants likely serve as social tools for at least some primates. Like a human father pushing around junior in a stroller or walking a gentle dog, the presence of a cute, young, defenseless being seems to alleviate tension when meeting others.

When a Barbary macaque male encounters another male with an infant, a "bizarre ritual" takes place, co-author Julia Fischer told Discovery News.

Fischer said the males "sit together, embrace each other, then they hold up the infant and nuzzle it. Their teeth chatter and lip smack while making low frequency grumbling noises."

Full story here.

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