Friday, April 10, 2009

Monkeys Shed Light on Gold Diggers, Prostitution

National Geographic News reports that male chimps who share meat with female chimps double their chances of having sex with those females.

"The findings support a long-held hypothesis that food sharing improves male chimpanzees' chances of mating. Males observed in the West African nation of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) shared monkey meat with females that exhibited the pink swellings on their rear ends that indicate ovulation and sexual availability. More surprising was that males shared meat with females that didn't have sexual swellings, perhaps in hopes of future success, the researchers say."

So, what does this tell us about our own evolutionary origins?

National Geographic says that studies of human hunter-gatherer societies have long shown that skillful hunters have more offspring and wives. So does this mean that we should stop giving "gold digging" women such a hard time? Is it just hardwired into our genetics to swoon after someone who is successful?

This story also reminds me of prostitution - the male monkey offers the female something of value for sex. Maybe prostitution has been called "the oldest job in the world" because monkeys were doing it long before we were...?

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