Saturday, February 05, 2005

Would the Web Site be Called "Rhesus' Pieces?"
Courtesy of Skippy, we are informed of a story that ties in nicely with the evolution update a few posts below. It seems that man and monkeys are not at all that far apart. According to a study reported in Live Science, rhesus monkeys "paid" to see pictures of female rhesus' bottoms:

"Would you pay to see a monkey's backside? I hope not. Monkeys will, and I guess that's okay, though it sounds awfully close to the sort of thing that lands guys in jail here in the human realm.

A new study found that male monkeys will give up their juice rewards in order to ogle pictures of female monkey's bottoms. The way the experiment was set up, the act is akin to paying for the images, the researchers say.

The rhesus macaque monkeys also splurged on photos of top-dog counterparts, the high-ranking primates."

Well of course they did. Those "free" pictures you're always promised on the many e-mails I receive don't deliver! You've gotta pay to see the good stuff!


"Curiously, the monkeys in the test hadn't had any direct physical contact with the monkeys in the photos, so they didn't have personal experience with who was hot and who was not.

"So, somehow, they are getting this information by observation -- by seeing other individuals interact," said Michael Platt of the Duke University Medical Center."

Monkeys on streetcorners?? This study actually has serious goals behind it:


"The study, announced Friday, is far from monkey business. It was sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Cure Autism Now Foundation. The goal is to learn more about the social machinery of the brain with an eye toward helping autism patients.

"One of the main problems in people with autism is that they don't find it very motivating to look at other individuals," Platt said. "And even when they do, they can't seem to assess information about that individual's importance, intentions or expressions."

The monkeys provide "an excellent model for how social motivation for looking is processed in normal individuals," Platt said. "And, it's a model that we can use to explore the neurophysiological mechanisms of those motivations in a way we can't do in humans."

What's the genetic similarities between us and chimpanzees? 99%? I would up that percentage, especially for us males!

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