Monkeys and Social Communication Tactics

Posted on: September 9, 2007

Weird news of the day: 1) Monkeys wash themselves in their own urine. (I was not aware of this. Am I the only one?) 2) Recent research suggests that monkeys do not engage in this behavior for previously thought reasons., i.e. body temperature regulation or climbing aid. It is now thought that monkey urine-washing is connected to social communication. Read here.

Researchers observed capuchin monkeys in captivity for 10 months and recorded their daily urination habits. (What a fun job.) They noticed an interesting link between urination and moments of attention-seeking.

“Alpha males, for example, doubled their urine washing rates when being solicited by females. The researchers think this might be how males encourage females to continue paying attention once they’ve started. ”

“And in 87% of fights or aggressive incidents, the loser of the battle washed in urine.”

I think I’ll stick with the casual smile when I see a potential date out and about…


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