A literal monkey mafia has formed on the island of Bali at a popular tourist attraction. The primate crime ring is made up of Macaque monkeys. They rob tourists and then barter the ill-gotten gains back to them in exchange for food. Devious.
The monkeys essentially mug the tourists by jumping onto their shoulders or backs and grabbing whatever they can before leaping away. Mostly, the primate thugs take hats and glasses, although there have been reports of them grabbing cameras, shoes, and iPhones as well. They play a frustrating game of ‘can’t catch me’ and dangle the tourists belongings just out of reach until receiving a snack as payment.
While the thought of monkeys extorting tourists with their own belongings is absolutely hilarious, there’s a deeper implication to the story. This is the first study of monkeys in a natural setting displaying an evolution from robbing to bartering.
Dr Fany Brotcorne, a primatologist at the University of Liège in Belgium, studied the macaques’ behaviour for four months, eventually publishing a study in the Primates journal. She states that this could lead insight to our humble human origins.
For more monkeying around check out Diddy Kong and Yeti Kong!