Research appears all the time about monkeys. This, I suspect, is because they’re the second-brightest animals in the world.
But, before we discuss recent findings, a little background. Orangutans possess outstanding visual memory. If they see something far away, they remember it. Near-sighted orangutans, therefore, may have short memories.
They also boast mechanical skills. Sometimes they stack objects — one atop the other — so they can reach food.
“Reaching food,” obviously, is a big motivation, followed by “reaching new food,” and “reaching the girl monkey, Elvira, standing next to the new food.”
Orangutans live high above the ground in family units. When they go to see neighbors, they call it “visiting another branch of the family.”
New zoo research reports that if you expose orangutans to TV, males will watch it all the time, even if they don’t get cable.
One orangutan completely ignored his spouse, who stood between him and the screen. Then, she shook him. She stopped only when she found the remote.
Then she joined him on the swing (or whatever they sit on) to watch soap operas and cartoons.
The “soap opera” response surprised me, so I consulted a local monkey. “Yep,” he said, “I watch the soaps too…but they make me hungry.
PREDICTION: Soap opera viewing might make monkeys hungry. And some might start requesting “a banana with my serial.”
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Rix Quinn is a former magazine publisher who works as an independent biographer and broadcaster.
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