Study: Balinese monkeys use stones to get their rocks off

PHOTO: "So I just smack myself in the junk with these stones?!" - Monkeys, probably. (via New Scientist)

Monkeys in Thailand need to step up their game. A, er, handy new study of monkeys in Ubud, Bali discovered that local macaques monkeys frequently rub or tap themselves with stones as a form of masturbation. The study was published in this month’s academic journal Ethology (because publishing it elsewhere might get you on a sex offender registry) and showed that, aside from using tools like sticks and stones to crack open fruits and nuts or dig up roots, these monkeys use rocks purely for pleasure with movements that have no functional purpose.

The paper was compiled by a group of peeping tom scientists from the University of Lethbridge in Canada who watched a group of 173 monkeys in the famous Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, a town in the centre of the Indonesian island of Bali. They observed the monkeys using stones as tools, and in arbitrary playful manipulation that seemed to have no real function, but also noticed the primate often use the stones in masturbatory handling of their “macaques.”

The study found that young males spent more time rubbing and tapping their genitals than their adult male counterparts, more so in especially sexual situations like getting excited and trying to attract a mate. Please remember that the previous sentence is about the observation of monkeys, not humans. The data may also be too specific as monkeys in the sanctuary are famously fed by humans frequently and therefore spend much less time hunting and foraging to survive.

So, the use of sexual aids to spice up masturbation may just be a perk of having too much free time on one’s hands. Again, the previous sentence is about monkeys, not humans.

While it’s easy to make jokes about a bunch of monkeys using stones to get their rocks off, the study does have scientific merit, as an action like the stone rubbing is neither adaptive nor technically useful in a way that using stones to hunt or dig would be. This suggests that the sexual pleasure may have been an accidental discovery while the monkeys were handling stones in other purposeless actions.

That pattern lends credence to the scientific theory that the use of tools like this may have been an evolution from what was originally just monkeys playing around with objects and eventually stumbling upon the usefulness as a tool. An expert on primate cognition at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies at Italy’s National Research Council found the data “very convincing.”

Still, the group of scientific voyeurs didn’t see any indication that using a stone tool with their own tool caused monkeys any pain, as they didn’t make any noises like they do when they’re bitten or fighting, but further study would be necessary to confirm monkeys didn’t enjoy a little sadism kink.

No word if these scientists, or any others, have plans to observe masturbating monkeys in any other countries or regions, but it seems like it would be more fun to study monkey rocks than monkeypox.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

World News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Related Articles