Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Study: Male Monkeys Improve Their Chances By Getting To Know Females

A new Yale study says that a male monkey greatly increases his chances of successfully courting a female monkey by taking some time to get to know her.

The study, published online Monday by the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, considered a population of rhesus macaque monkeys on the island of Cayo Santiago off the coast of Puerto Rico.

They found that the more familiar a male monkey was with a female monkey, the more likely he was to recognize that she was ovulating. For instance, in the monkeys that they studied, some fertile females exhibited a darkened face. But not all females bore this trait. So the male monkeys who got to know an individual female monkey's signs were in better position to seize the opportunity.

The researchers showed male monkeys two pictures of the same female monkeys, one while she was ovulating and one when she wasn't. Male monkeys who were part of the same group as the female monkey showed a preference for the picture of the monkey while ovulating. Those who weren't part of the group showed no preference.

The study was led by Laurie Santos, an associate professor of psychology at Yale University. Santos has made a name for herself in recent years studying the behavior of monkeys. A few years ago, she coined the term "monkey economics" after studying the decision-making processes of monkeys, which suggested that our own money-handling behavior is highly ingrained.

Full story here.

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