Monkey Prostitution

I just finished listening to Superfreakonomics. It was really good, and I especially liked the epilogue, which was about monkey prostitution. Read that again. Monkey prostitution, that’s right.

This whole thing began as a study to find out if monkeys could adopt an economy. The researchers used something like washers as money, and the first thing they had to do was teach the monkey’s their value. A researcher would hand a monkey a coin and if/when the monkey gave it back the researcher would give the monkey a piece of fruit. Eventually the monkeys learned the value of money, and even learned to handle a fluctuating economy.

One day a male stole the coins from the research room and brought them back to the cage where all the monkeys lived. Sure enough, the male with all the coins gave one to a female and within minutes they were boning down.

Talk about the world’s oldest profession.

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