Lust, monkeys and the science of human desire

The Washington Post:

Her unruly red-blond hair tufting atop her head, Deidrah sat beside Oppenheim. She lipped his ear. She mouthed his chest. She kissed his belly over and over, lips lingering with each kiss. After a while, he pulled himself up and strolled away from her attentions, glancing back over his shoulder to see if she was following. She was.

Deidrah, probably the most reserved female monkey in the compound, started in again on his white-haired torso as they sat together on a concrete curb. The habitat, a 120-foot square, was filled with ladders and ropes and assorted apparatus donated by a fire department and by McDonald’s; an environment of trees and vines would have been too expensive to create and maintain. A trio of monkey children sprinted toward a tube, disappeared inside it, burst from the other end and raced around for another run-through, berserk with joy.

From a platform on a steel tower, Kim Wallen, an Emory University psychologist and neuroendocrinologist who has been working for decades at the university’s Yerkes Primate Research Center outside Atlanta, gazed down at the habitat’s 75 rhesus monkeys. This is the species that was sent into orbit in the ’50s and ’60s as stand-ins for humans to see if we would survive trips to the moon.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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