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Food for Grooming

We’ve blogged before about the many human-like characteristics of primates. New research indicates that in addition to exchanging goods and services, monkeys adjust exchange rates as supply changes. Ronald Noe, a primate ethnologist, measured the grooming behavior of vervet monkeys in southern and eastern Africa. Among these monkeys, grooming is a hot commodity and is viewed by scientists as a form of “payment” for services. Noe found that when the number of food providers increased, each individual food provider received less grooming. (Note: the epilogue of SuperFreakonomics contains a more … uh … dramatic type of exchange between monkeys.) [%comments]