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Old 13th January 2021, 08:50 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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Clever Monkeys

Nice phone: Bali’s thieving monkeys can spot high-value items to ransom

Quote:
Study finds macaques go for tourists’ electronics and wallets over empty bags and then maximise their profit


At the Uluwatu temple in Bali, monkeys mean business. The long-tailed macaques who roam the ancient site are infamous for brazenly robbing unsuspecting tourists and clinging on to their possessions until food is offered as ransom payment.

Researchers have found they are also skilled at judging which items their victims value the most and using this information to maximise their profit.

Shrewd macaques prefer to target items that humans are most likely to exchange for food, such as electronics, rather than objects that tourists care less about, such as hairpins or empty camera bags, said Dr Jean-Baptiste Leca, an associate professor in the psychology department at the University of Lethbridge in Canada and lead author of the study.

...

After spending more than 273 days filming interactions between the animals and temple visitors, researchers found that the macaques would demand better rewards – such as more food – for higher-valued items.

Bargaining between a monkey robber, tourist and a temple staff member quite often lasted several minutes. The longest wait before an item was returned was 25 minutes, including 17 minutes of negotiation. For lower-valued items, the monkeys were more likely to conclude successful bartering sessions by accepting a lesser reward.
This seems to me to be quite sophisticated behaviour. Not being very good at searching such things I was unable to find the paper this article cites, even searching the lead author's name in Google Scholar. Can anyone do better than me?
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:08 PM   #2
RecoveringYuppy
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This link work?

https://scholar.google.com/citations...C%26tzom%3D420


Social influence on the expression of robbing and bartering behaviours in Balinese long-tailed macaques

Authors
Fany Brotcorne, Anna Holzner, Lucía Jorge-Sales, Noëlle Gunst, Alain Hambuckers, I Nengah Wandia, Jean-Baptiste Leca
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:15 PM   #3
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
This link work?

https://scholar.google.com/citations...C%26tzom%3D420


Social influence on the expression of robbing and bartering behaviours in Balinese long-tailed macaques

Authors
Fany Brotcorne, Anna Holzner, Lucía Jorge-Sales, Noëlle Gunst, Alain Hambuckers, I Nengah Wandia, Jean-Baptiste Leca
Yes it does. Thanks. It's behind a paywall, but I can read the abstract at least.

ETA: It doesn't appear to be the same article. This describes the social influence on the RB behaviour, but the abstract doesn't mention the value of the stolen items. Is this perhaps a case of a journalist noticing a minor point in the paper, that the paper wasn't actually about, and publishing as though it is the most important point?
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:18 PM   #4
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This might be interesting too:

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/d...rstb.2019.0677

Last edited by RecoveringYuppy; 13th January 2021 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
This one goes into the value-based bartering more. I think this may be the one cited by the Guardian.

But the value-based bartering was "Prediction 2b" in the paper. There was a lot more to it than that. This is definitely cherry-picking by the paper.

ETA: take that back. It was the basis of the conclusion.
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Old 13th January 2021, 09:32 PM   #6
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Here's the Conclusion:

Quote:
Token-robbing and token/reward-bartering are cognitively challenging tasks for the Uluwatu macaques that revealed unprecedented economic decision-making processes (i.e. valued-based token selection and payoff maximization) in a large monkey population living in an anthropogenically impacted habitat. This spontaneous, population-specific, prevalent, cross-generational, learned and socially influenced practice may be the first example of a culturally maintained token economy in free-ranging animals. The present naturalistic research setting represents a unique opportunity to study field economics and explore macroeconomic phenomena in non-human primates in environmental conditions that are more externally and ecologically valid than those provided by the traditional token exchange paradigm. Further experimental research on the Uluwatu macaques should make future cross-species comparisons of economic decision-making and symbolic tool use more relevant from an evolutionary perspective and may ultimately lead to a better understanding of the origins of autonomous monetary systems in humans [29].
Fascinating.
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Old 13th January 2021, 11:25 PM   #7
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This is incredible!

It might be to be an adaptation after the lockdowns everywhere meant their tourist feeding them dried up, except it looks like it started years before.

ETA: it's easy to see how this evolved. Macaque steals tourist item, tourist tries to lure them back with food.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 14th January 2021 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 14th January 2021, 01:34 AM   #8
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I'm skeptical just because it's so tempting to believe at face value (the paper).
But they've got 5-6 months to get some more data. "Cheeky monkeys" eh? Good on them.
What I do know when we return, regarding the many once populated "wild animal attraction" plazas etc. ... we're ******.
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Old 14th January 2021, 01:47 AM   #9
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So what is their preferred high-valued food payment? In case you really need your phone back fast ...
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Old 14th January 2021, 01:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
So what is their preferred high-valued food payment? In case you really need your phone back fast ...
I suspect "bananas"... is a trap.

Hell, what do ya got? Huh?
What's in the bag?
Hey! Don't run away!
What's in the purse? WHAT'S IN THE PURSE???
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Old 14th January 2021, 08:24 AM   #11
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The clever monkeys steal the food. Stealing valuable objects is useless for a tourist that has no food to give.
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Old 14th January 2021, 08:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Nice phone: Bali’s thieving monkeys can spot high-value items to ransom



This seems to me to be quite sophisticated behaviour. Not being very good at searching such things I was unable to find the paper this article cites, even searching the lead author's name in Google Scholar. Can anyone do better than me?
Trial and error plus tradition equal sophistication.
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Old 14th January 2021, 06:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
The clever monkeys steal the food. Stealing valuable objects is useless for a tourist that has no food to give.
It appears that the temple staff have the food.
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Old 15th January 2021, 10:41 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
It appears that the temple staff have the food.
So it's a monkey-human conspiracy?
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Old 16th January 2021, 04:46 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
This is incredible!

It might be to be an adaptation after the lockdowns everywhere meant their tourist feeding them dried up, except it looks like it started years before.

ETA: it's easy to see how this evolved. Macaque steals tourist item, tourist tries to lure them back with food.
Some years ago the park in Merrion Square in Dublin had a squirre, a grey with a white patch on his tail, quite distinctive, who learned to pose for tourist photos.
He'd perch on a large chunk of granite, near the Wilde statue, and stand still there in exchange for food.
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Old 17th January 2021, 04:34 PM   #16
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I like that better..

Squirrels are cuter than macaques..
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Old 21st January 2021, 11:59 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
I like that better..

Squirrels are cuter than macaques..
But carry leprosy!

https://www.joh.cam.ac.uk/could-squi...prosy-outbreak
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Old 21st January 2021, 02:45 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I remember on my first trip to the US, my hosts took me to La Brea Tarpits and I saw my first squirrel. I approached to take a photo and hcmom said "careful, it might have rabies".

You can bet I stopped in my tracks.
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Old 21st January 2021, 02:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I remember on my first trip to the US, my hosts took me to La Brea Tarpits and I saw my first squirrel. I approached to take a photo and hcmom said "careful, it might have rabies".

You can bet I stopped in my tracks.
I don't think a human has ever gotten rabies from a squirrel and squirrels themselves hardly every acquire it.
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Old 21st January 2021, 02:58 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I don't think a human has ever gotten rabies from a squirrel and squirrels themselves hardly every acquire it.
Yeah I'm pretty sure it was mostly a joke, but you can damn well bet I stopped in my tracks.
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Old 21st January 2021, 03:49 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I don't think a human has ever gotten rabies from a squirrel and squirrels themselves hardly every acquire it.

When I was in New York for the first time, I was also hand feeding the squirrels in Central Park, but the locals warned us of rabies. It seems to be a persistent claim.
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Old 21st January 2021, 04:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by steenkh View Post
When I was in New York for the first time, I was also hand feeding the squirrels in Central Park, but the locals warned us of rabies. It seems to be a persistent claim.
Just to make sure I have my fact straight:

https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/exposure/animals/other.html

Quote:
Small rodents like squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs including rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.
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Old 21st January 2021, 04:31 PM   #23
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Good to know. Through strict quarantine procedures, we have managed not to have rabies in Australia. We do have a bat lyssavirus, which is related, but no actual rabies.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 07:19 AM   #24
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This thread reminded me of that old Buddhist story about the monkey trap.

When I first heard that story, it sounded to me like a made-up story -- although I don't know that, and it could be true for all I know.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 07:36 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
I thought that was just armadillolololos.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:22 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
This thread reminded me of that old Buddhist story about the monkey trap.

When I first heard that story, it sounded to me like a made-up story -- although I don't know that, and it could be true for all I know.
Finally, something that might bring the Mythbusters back.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:44 PM   #27
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Apologies if I've shared it before, but I was robbed by a squirrel gang once...

Outside the Admiralty museum in London, I stopped because a squirrel had scampered across the park, stopped in front of me and started pawing at the air, while standing on its back legs...

I crouched down to see what it was doing, and there was a sudden commotion in my pocket. Before I'd realised what was happening, the pair of squirrels had raced across the park and scampered up a tree with my bag of trail mix.

Cheeky little grey bastards.

There were a lot of squirrels scampering around that park, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been the only person that was robbed in this fashion.

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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Apologies if I've shared it before, but I was robbed by a squirrel gang once...

Outside the Admiralty museum in London, I stopped because a squirrel had scampered across the park, stopped in front of me and started pawing at the air, while standing on its back legs...

I crouched down to see what it was doing, and there was a sudden commotion in my pocket. Before I'd realised what was happening, the pair of squirrels had raced across the park and scampered up a tree with my bag of trail mix.

Cheeky little grey bastards.

There were a lot of squirrels scampering around that park, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have been the only person that was robbed in this fashion.

Pretty sure no one has ever been mugged by a koala, of course grey squirrels are all immigrants that is why Brexit was essential!

(Except of course the thieving immigrant grey squirrels pushing the law abiding if lepromatous native British red squirrel out of hearth and home (or at least tree and drey) are American immigrants. Nothing to do with Brexit, but we are obliged to mention Brexit in all threads.)

Of course they have nothing on Kea for criminality.
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/...h-thieving-kea
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:01 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Pretty sure no one has ever been mugged by a koala, of course grey squirrels are all immigrants that is why Brexit was essential!
<snip>
You must never have heard about the drop bears in Australia. They need to be avoided. Here is a YouTube explaining the dangers to migrents.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kev9VNGCLdc
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Old 23rd January 2021, 02:14 PM   #30
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Imagine my surprise as a youth seeing signs posted in the Angeles and Sierra National forests (CA, USA) warning of Bubonic plague. They are still there.

Basically "Stay away from the cute creatures..."
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Old 28th January 2021, 11:41 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
This is incredible!

It might be to be an adaptation after the lockdowns everywhere meant their tourist feeding them dried up, except it looks like it started years before.

ETA: it's easy to see how this evolved. Macaque steals tourist item, tourist tries to lure them back with food.
... and the macaque prefers food, can't carry both, so it leaves the 'stolen' item.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
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Old 28th January 2021, 11:50 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
This thread reminded me of that old Buddhist story about the monkey trap.

When I first heard that story, it sounded to me like a made-up story -- although I don't know that, and it could be true for all I know.
As I kid I heard the same story about trapping racoons.
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Old 28th January 2021, 12:04 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Some years ago the park in Merrion Square in Dublin had a squirre, a grey with a white patch on his tail, quite distinctive, who learned to pose for tourist photos.
He'd perch on a large chunk of granite, near the Wilde statue, and stand still there in exchange for food.
Some squirrels seem to have something akin to 'punishment for breach of contract'.
30 years ago or so, if you squatted beneath a certain tree in my local park with nuts in your hand, squirrels would come down and pick them out of your hand. I wanted to demonstrate that to a friend of mine, but had forgotten to bring nuts, so I squatted beneath the tree, pretending to have food. Soon a squirrel came down, looked at my empty hand, grabbed hold of my middle finger, bit it (not hard) and fled back up the tree again.
Never got rabies!
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 28th January 2021, 06:56 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by The Greater Fool View Post
Imagine my surprise as a youth seeing signs posted in the Angeles and Sierra National forests (CA, USA) warning of Bubonic plague. They are still there.

Basically "Stay away from the cute creatures..."
Stay away from ground squirrels and jack rabbits. They have infected fleas. I saw a case in a human when I lived in Colorado.

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