YTAH's Weblog

News That Features Monkeys: Fun facts about mooning

Posted in humour,journalism,satire by YTAH on December 12, 2008
Tags: , , ,

Not many people know this, but the act of mooning originated as a show of respect among bonobo monkeys. At some point in their evolution, younger males started approaching the troop leader, turning their backs to them, and laying their arms on the ground as a sign of submission. Gradually it became custom for the troop leader to acknowledge the gesture by mounting the lesser males and initiating mock intercourse.

Needless to say, this peculiar custom can lead to difficulties wherever humans come into contact with this species. Last year alone, six Canadian tourists tragically lost their virginity to overeager troop leaders (frustrated for years by the lack of females in their enclosures) while mooning caged monkeys in south-east Asia.

So how did the act of mooning turn into the full-cheeked insult it has become today?

Extended periods of captivity, often in close proximity to humans, have resulted in strange anomalies in monkey behaviour. In earlier times, the bonobo was content to remain the blissed-out, peacenik hippy of the primate order, happily chewing hemp leaves, inventing useful contraptions, and contemplating strategies for a better tomorrow. However, in recent years bonobos have generally been more interested in violently assaulting each other and their human overlords than in building a better world or even ‘getting it on’ with other monkeys of either gender.

Bonobo monkeys turn to drink

Bonobo monkeys turn to drink

Scientists believe the bonobo’s prolonged exposure to human customs – in particular, their consumption of alcohol – has caused this species to embrace violence as an answer. Researchers point to a decreased ability to deal rationally with the world around them, impeded understanding of hand gestures and other forms of communication, coupled with an increased tendency to want to settle disagreements by scratching, biting, and hurling poo. Conservationists note that the increase in violent incidents involving bonobo monkeys has seen a similar increase in the number of empty containers of fermented fruit juice and other intoxicating beverages, found in cages where troops of bonobos are held.

Conservationists also suggest that overindulgence in alcoholic beverages on the part of the monkeys has led to a decreased ability to successfully complete the sexual act, and that the ensuing feelings of impotence have found expression in the lamentable violence that has rocked the primate world in the last few decades. Some studies suggest that if these hostilities are allowed to escalate at their current rate, this will result in all-out war between different groups of monkeys in less than 5 years, and that total extinction of the species is imminent.

Lately, however, researchers in primate behaviour have seen what may be a move towards a different fate for these formerly gentle creatures, in the emergence of what appears to be an entirely new sub-species. This new breed, which scientists have provisionally named the Chinobonobo, has begun to adopt different human habits, such as walking upright while looking important and wearing comfortable slacks.

How well this new subspecies will succeed in the wild remains to be seen, as the bonobos have been observed attacking any monkeys that show signs of walking upright without the assistance of cage bars, carving rectangular clipboard-sized objects out of flat rocks, or adopting an expression half-pensive semi-concern as if caring deeply without listening at all. In a number of instances, true bonobos – Bonobo Classic – have gone so far as to rub fruit juices on sheets made of straw, marking these sheets with faeces in a sort of hieroglyph, and sticking them on the backs of chinobonobos to indicate their deviance from “true” monkey behaviour and as a sign that they should be ostracized.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. The following news item, from a highly reliable source, details the exploits of one such monkey.

Monkey trouble for zookeepers
Wed Dec 2, 2008 8:40am EST

By Samson Y. Delilah

Not a picture of the monkey.

Not a picture of the monkey.

KYPTOWN (Rueturs) – A search is ongoing for a male monkey who escaped from the Kyptown Zoo on the evening of November 19. Zookeepers are eager to retrieve the monkey, named Karl (after renowned UK monkey fancier Karl Pilkington, to whom he bears a striking resemblance) due to his popularity with child visitors.

According to zoo officials, Karl managed to bypass security by pretending to be a zookeeper who’d lost his keys. Based on evidence found discarded by one of the exits, it seems that Karl managed his disguise by stealing a zookeeper’s jacket and fashioning a crude badge from chewed bamboo and elephant dung.

Karl is one of several chinobonobo monkeys that the zoo acquired in a recent attempt to recapture some of its earlier popularity. The breed is known for aping human behaviour. Zoo officials maintain that Karl was always a particularly enterprising specimen, who would often regale zoo attendants with comical displays of near-human behaviour, such as drinking and falling down a lot.

Interest in apprehending the fugitive chinobonobo has increased over the last two weeks, following the sighting of “a short, excessively hairy man” at the scene of a jewellery heist. Police say robbers got away with a large safe containing many precious diamonds belonging to the owner of the Do Bears Mining Co.

When asked about the possibility that a chinobonobo monkey may have been involved in the robberies, the officer in charge of the case, Sergeant Hardwick responded, “Are you out of your [expletive] mind? Chinobonobo monkeys have management potential written all over them. Everybody knows managers avoid the real heavy lifting.”

(Additional reporting by Vaughn Lillywhite, editing by Yrus Trewely)
© R.U. Kid Inc./Rueturs 2008 All rights reserved

So there you have it, folks. More Pure Fact(TM) coming your way in 2009.

[Originally posted as AtraBilious on on Thursday, December 11, 2008.]


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