Anorak News | Monkeys Create Amazing Mind-Boggling Secret Ritual At Colchester Zoo (Open For The Holidays!)

Monkeys Create Amazing Mind-Boggling Secret Ritual At Colchester Zoo (Open For The Holidays!)

by | 4th, August 2011

DID you know that when mandrill monkeys at Colchester Zoo do not want to be disturbed they cover their face with a hand?

The Telegraph tells us that the gesture is “unique“:

It’s a gesture thats never been seen before [by humans who bothered to record it], and experts believe its evidence of social culture among animals. They believe one of the mandrills made up the gesture and passed it on to her pals something thats common in humans but almost unheard of in animals.

The customary manner in which a monkey engages with solitude is to flick poo at a human or else wear headphones, go to their bedroom and turn the music up really loud.

The paper hears from Mark E. Laidre, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, who reports on the mandrills in the Scientific American magazine. He has been “observing” mandrills for more than five years. Yep, for five long years mandrills have had to put up with Mr Laidre looking at them. Eventually they had enough. Says he:

“I saw this behaviour in the first few hour. I’d never seen this before; I knew it was very interesting. By covering their eyes with their hands, individuals possibly conveyed to others that they wanted to be left alone, and this message may have been respected as a ‘do not disturb’ sign.”

And – get this – is DOES NOT WORK. Still the expert stares. You peek out from behind your paw and there he is…observing.

Another expert steps forward. It’s Sarah Forsyth, Colchester Zoo curator:

“We believe Milly [the mandrill] made up the signal and over the past five years some of the younger mandrills have picked it up. Were not sure why she started doing it but it could just be as simple as I cant see them so they cant see me.”

Yes, it could be that simple. Or else she might be mime arts or have a tense, nervous headache from drinking too much tea…

Spotter: The Boom Dogg

Posted: 4th, August 2011 | In: Strange But True Comment (1) | TrackBack | Permalink