Tales from the watercooler: Monkeying about can lead to love

Female capuchins throw stones at 'hot' males...so just like us, really

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The Independent Online

Whether or not you believe we are the relatively hairless full-stop to a genetic sequence involving monkeys, there are times when our banana-fixated relatives exhibit some very human characteristics.

This week, during filming of a BBC/Discovery Channel film in Brazil, female capuchin monkeys were seen throwing stones at those male monkeys who they regarded as being hot stuff, romantically speaking. Although this seems like a strange way to secure some monkey cuddles, at least they’re throwing rocks, not their normal missile of choice, which I shall refrain from naming. Anyway, monkeys tend only to throw that at punters who stray too close to the bars of their cage at the zoo. And that usually has nothing to do with romance. Or so one would fervently hope.

Anyway, it strikes me that, while human females don’t throw rocks at blokes they fancy (outside Glasgow, anyway), the female capuchins’ behaviour is not entirely inhuman.

Nothing mystifies a child more than being punched or kicked by a member of the opposite sex in the playground, then getting home and asking Mum why it happened. “That means he/she likes you,” says Mum.

Cue a wrinkled seven-year-old brow and the start of a lifetime of romantic misunderstandings.