For those of you who have been saying, “Joe, I really love the blog and all but where the stinking hell are the monkey stories you promised us?”

Here you go, from UK Daily Mail:

Why monkeys are hairy little headbangers

By Fiona Macrae
Last updated at 9:34 AM on 02nd September 2009

They have wild shaggy manes that are perfect for tossing about and are known to bite the heads off rodents.

Unsurprising, then, that tamarin monkeys are big heavy metal fans.

When a group of cottontop tamarins were played a variety of types of music, from classical to jazz, only the songs by hard rock bands such as Metallica caused them to react.

Rather than making them agitated, the loud, fast-paced tracks had a calming effect, a US study found.

The creatures were also played tunes composed specifically for them, made up of cello music and recordings of their own calls.

Tamarin monkey

Rock fan: A cottontop tamarin

James Hetfield of Metallica

James Hetfield of Metallica

Though they had enjoyed the Metallica, they were much more interested in these pieces overall. A ‘song’ based on the short, shrill calls of scared and threatened monkeys led to anxiety levels soaring, while one based on long calls the creatures make when they are happy had a calming effect.

Parents use a similar strategy when singing lullabies to improve the mood – known as the affective state – of fractious babies, the Royal Society journal Biology Letters reports.

For instance, studies show that babies who are too young to understand words can still interpret a long tone and descending pitch as soothing, and a short tone as inhibiting.

Researcher Dr Charles Snowdon, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, believes that his results with the monkeys suggest the more musical elements of speech have their roots deep in evolution.

He said: ‘The emotional components of music and animal calls might be very similar, and from an evolutionary perspective, we are finding that note patterns and timing are important for communicating affective states in both animals and people.’

Cottontop tamarins are native to the Americas. They eat fruit and seeds as well as frogs, birds and mice.


2 thoughts on “Why monkeys are hairy little headbangers

Say Something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s