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Chimpanzees Exchange Meat For Sex 313

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-do-I-get-for-a-cheeseburger dept.
the_therapist writes "A team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany, studied chimps in the Tai Forest reserve in Ivory Coast and discovered that chimpanzees enter into 'deals' whereby they exchange meat for sex. Among the findings are that 'male chimps that are willing to share the proceeds of their hunting expeditions mate twice as often as their more selfish counterparts.' They also found this to be 'a long-term exchange, so males continue to share their catch with females when they are not fertile, copulating with them when they are.'"

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Chimpanzees Exchange Meat For Sex

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  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:53PM (#27512381) Homepage

    We formulized it and called it marriage though.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:58PM (#27512427)

      Except the chimps don't seem to exhibit the signs of buyer's remorse.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Wrong.

      Marriage is so that human females can continue to be fed while no longer having to put out.
    • by Jangchub (1139089) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:33PM (#27512671)
      +5 funny? That's robbery. +5 insightful.
    • by PachmanP (881352) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:37PM (#27512701)

      We formulized it and called it marriage though.

      Nah men formalized it and called it prostitution. Women started thinking about how to get more and put out less and that's how we got marriage.

      • by Gorobei (127755) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:08PM (#27512937)

        Nah men formalized it and called it prostitution. Women started thinking about how to get more and put out less and that's how we got marriage.

        Actually, it was probably the other way around: men formalized marriage in an effort to stop women sleeping around. Stability of the tribe, and all that (alpha males still get to sleep around, beta males get a better chance of their kid actually being theirs, the rest have no illusions.)

        Sometimes I wish I could forget everything I've read on primate and avian mating patterns, it would make my life so much easier.

        • by Narpak (961733) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:56PM (#27513213)
          Perhaps they created marriage to stop the spread of STDs. Maybe, back in the days, they tried the free sex approach and discovered that syphilis and others were a bit of a bitch. A free-sex society don't work quite as well if you don't have prevention like condoms available.

          Though as you mentioned, could also be that rulers insisted on monogamy from their mates to ensure that any offspring came from the right father. Always hard to confirm parentage if you don't have access to at least a basic lab.
          • by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:17PM (#27513355) Homepage

            Always hard to confirm parentage if you don't have access to at least a basic lab.

            Not if you trace maternal bloodlines.

          • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:35PM (#27513497)

            Small tribes and isolation prevented any bad repercussions for free sex.

            In my 50 years of experience there are three types of women
            * Those who hate sex (common and really sad- seems to last decades)
            * Those who are extremely promiscuous (uncommon but more common than you think)
            * Those who enjoy sex and are reasonably or totally monogamous (uncommonly for a decade, rare for a lifetime)

            Based on actual experience, if you are not afraid of loss, the best partner is a couple days a week and then the rest of the time you do guy stuff. A full time wife/girlfriend can be stifling unless you make them your life. I've done it both ways multiple times. I prefer the fwb and free time. Since I have extra meat to share, it works. I've been in three ~decade long relationships and ended up gutted emotionally every time. After I quit that, I was much happier. But I do envy friends who made it work. Having a girlfriend, then wife from 16 to 26 was probably awesome and changed me since I never did the club hunting thing. But it was stupid to marry before I was on good financial footing. And once you marry/get a girlfriend, you can't do what you have to do to get set financially.

            If I was religious, it would have been a lot easier. Religious girls *will* drop you after you and they are in in love-- because a) god comes first and b) "they are going to be in heaven alone for eternity while you are in hell and it makes them sad."

            Worldwide (citation needed but exists), women leave men at a higher rate when the last born child reaches 5 years old. Regardless of culture, religion, or other factors. The theory was that genetically that is when the child can gather it's own food and walk around and there is something genetic about it. And that it is better to have children by multiple mates in order to maximize the odds your genes survive (for both sexes- but they use different strategies to achieve the goal-- I've read up to 10% of children's dna do not match their fathers in many areas, so that's another strategy- happened to at least one friend of mine).

            The only problem is the damn legal system currently punishes men way out of proportion. I've even heard of men required to pay child support for children that were not theirs (they'd paid for a couple years and THEN found out the ex had been lying-- so do a quick paternity test when your wife asks for a divorce and save yourself some grief).

            We all want to love and be loved in return-- and really, almost completely separate from that we want red hot noogie. In fact, the argument over who should take out the garbage gets in the way which is why some of the most incredible sex is with people you only see to get it on with. But (in my experience), you still have to know them well- the anonymous stuff never worked for me. Too cold.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by julesh (229690)

              ... I never did the club hunting thing ...

              You mean like this [cartoonstock.com], right?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Plutonite (999141)

              Worldwide (citation needed but exists), women leave men at a higher rate when the last born child reaches 5 years old. Regardless of culture, religion, or other factors. The theory was that genetically that is when the child can gather it's own food and walk around and there is something genetic about it.

              I'm sorry, but this is nonsense, you cannot use statistical inference in something like this, because the world is too small, and the factors too many. When you say "regardless of other factors" you have no idea how bad that sounds. "Other factors" considered by the survey, maybe, not in the real world. A single unkown factor, like intelligence of the father, or what the parents like to do on weekends, or relationships between jobs, can completely skew this thing one way or the other.
              Also, the theory makes

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by Plutonite (999141)

                Last line was ugly. I meant to say:

                Congratulations! You are a gentleman. Join our exclusive club! We party on Saturdays, and only get intimate with people we really like!

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Maybe I spent too much time at college, but I'd change your list quite a bit:

              • Women who are promiscuous their whole lives or a significant portion of it. Usually because of jacked up things that happened to them earlier in life.
              • Women who are promiscuous when they're young then grow out of it. The promiscuity is more sexual exploration. They then get tired of the downside of that lifestyle.
              • Women who are pretty much monogamous. I've never been able to figure out this group; maybe because I don't intera
            • by kklein (900361) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @06:13AM (#27515797)

              I've read up to 10% of children's dna do not match their fathers in many areas, so that's another strategy- happened to at least one friend of mine

              Ugh, I can't say anything, but I really suspect this has happened with my brother's youngest. His wife got weird about the time he was born and then left him a little over a year later, out of the blue. The kid doesn't look like anyone on our side of the family, and has personality traits (like athletic ability) that neither side has. She cheated on him a bunch of times while they were dating, and then twice (that we know of) since they got married (they are, of course, divorcing now).

              It's rough because, emotionally, he's already a wreck, and he has done most of the raising of the youngest and is a very proud parent. We all love that kid to death. But still... I just don't think he's "one of us."

              I've decided to keep my mouth shut. Kid needs a family no matter what, and we like having him around. He shouldn't be punished for his mom being a dumb slut.

          • by Gorobei (127755) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:08AM (#27513703)

            Doubtful on the STDs: most animals use the "free sex approach" with minimal effect on fertility (actually, if an STD makes individuals infertile, that encourages sex with multiple partners.) Also, small breeding populations are not much affected by STDs: everyone is exposed, virulence is low. STDs go wild once you have big cities and travel (jets, wars, or pilgrimages, etc.)

        • by martinX (672498) on Thursday April 09, 2009 @12:26AM (#27513819)

          My theory was that marriage was invented by mobs of ugly men. Or maybe by alpha males that were just plain shagged out and wanted a reason to cut down on the number of wives.

          Either way, it works for me!

          • by Gorobei (127755)

            Part 1 of your theory seems basically correct. The people stoning women to death are basically mobs of ugly men without wives.
            Part 2 is a bit more problematic: how did they need to cut down of wife-count if marriage hadn't been invented?

        • by Monsuco (998964)

          Sometimes I wish I could forget everything I've read on primate and avian mating patterns, it would make my life so much easier.

          I can't count the number of times I've thought the same thing... No wait I can.

      • I always laugh.... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by WindBourne (631190) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:11PM (#27512957) Journal
        when ppl speak of women putting out so little. Back in my 20s and 30s, most of the women that I dated wanted sex every night (a couple pushed for sex 2-3x a day) and gripped that the guys that they used to date were horrible in bed. They said that they quit putting out because THEY were not getting satisfaction. It was even more so with divorced women. I suspect that more guys need to change.
        • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:44PM (#27513551)

          A woman whose body works well (no endometriosis, abuse issues, etc.) can climax every 2 to 3 minutes for an indefinite period.
          The best a man can do is either edge forever, or train themselves to climax without ejaculation (came close but never succeeded myself but some do).

          One huge piece of advice... get a massage table ($300). So much better than a bed. Soooooo much better than a bed.
          You can adjust the height by inches (so you hit the right spots inside her) and instead of doing push-ups (every frikkin muscle in the body except the inner ear) for an hour, you are only screwing (so mainly abs, gluts and triceps). It is marvelous for all parties concerned.

          Because of our weak egos, ladies do well who push those buttons. I can see when they are pushing my buttons and it still feels good.
          Ladies in their 40's who didn't have something go wrong, like sex as much or more than younger women. I was married and monogamous most of my 20's so I don't have a lot of comparison in that age. In my 30's they wanted sex but a lot seemed to be screwed up by their previous relationships. In their 40's they knew what they wanted and went for it. I wonder what the 50's and 60's will be like.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        Ain't that the frickin' truth... :(

    • by Rei (128717)

      We formulized it and called it marriage though.

      Of course, if he shares his catch with another male chimpanzee instead of a female, he'll have to pay the gift tax and won't have legal recognition of their adopted young.

      As we all know, the gays are going to zap us with lightning [youtube.com]. (Yes, that's a real commercial that's been airing on TV in several states)

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      But due to genetic differences we have to use carbohydrates instead.

  • Wow (Score:5, Funny)

    by mc1138 (718275) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:53PM (#27512383) Homepage
    I need to head to the closest butchers shop!
    • by erroneus (253617)

      I always thought there was something monkey-like between Sam the butcher and Alice... This just confirms it.

    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Funny)

      by schon (31600) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:16PM (#27512559)

      I need to head to the closest butchers shop!

      First, you might want to make sure that zoophilia isn't illegal in your state. :)

    • Re:Wow (Score:5, Funny)

      by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:19PM (#27512995) Homepage

      I need to head to the closest butchers shop!

      Before you drop too much on premium cuts, remember the article said the ones who gave meat gifts had twice as much sex. You might want to think about how much you have now and do the math before deciding if that's worth it. ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Plutonite (999141)

        Hello! Are you a mean person? You must be the mean person everybody's mother told them about when they were little. I'm going to scribble down in my slashdot diary, that slashdot devs have provided me with, that you are a mean person; so that I don't forget.

      • Mmm, nope. There goes the hope of the meat industry to beat the credit-crisis!

  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by EkriirkE (1075937) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:53PM (#27512387) Homepage
    I'd rather use MY meat for sex.
  • I've tried the exchange method before... the woman took my money, and gave me nothing in return... what the hell are the male chimps doing differently?
  • Obligatory (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:54PM (#27512393)
    Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
  • by Daemonax (1204296) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:56PM (#27512413)
    There is a vegetarian girl that I'm interested in. I wonder if I'd get sex in exchange for an offering of meat?
    • As long as the meat is made out of tofu.

      In related news, PETA is taking donations to reeducate these chimps into changing their lifestyle.

  • by Centurix (249778) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `xirutnec'> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @08:57PM (#27512419) Homepage

    Butchers get all the chicks.

  • by Mr.Ziggy (536666) <storm2120@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:01PM (#27512467)

    This behavior has been quite well documented in bonobos, which until recently were considered chimps or dwarf chimps. I'm not sure what makes this article newsworthy, except that we all like to read about meat and sex...

    Try reading a copy of "The Hunting Ape" by Stanford... It's fascinating in covering hunting and culture in apes (including trading food for sex).

    From what I've read, I'd also disagree with the article that meat is so valuable to their diet. They LOVE meat, but other research suggests that the amount of energy expended on hunting compared to what they gain in protein/food is a net negative. Hunting is also high risk and includes getting injured in the process.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      This behavior has been quite well documented in bonobos, which until recently were considered chimps or dwarf chimps. I'm not sure what makes this article newsworthy, except that we all like to read about meat and sex...

      What makes it newsworthy is that despite what they used to be called, a Bonobo or Pigmy Chimpanzee is not a Common Chimpanzee. The article only says "chimpanzee" but quotes from scientists using the same term makes it obvious they're using the common name for common chimpanzee otherwise the

    • by khallow (566160) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:44PM (#27512743)

      From what I've read, I'd also disagree with the article that meat is so valuable to their diet. They LOVE meat, but other research suggests that the amount of energy expended on hunting compared to what they gain in protein/food is a net negative. Hunting is also high risk and includes getting injured in the process.

      If they're using meat as a currency for reproduction, then it becomes a very valuable part of the diet. And supplying meat sounds just like the typical display of fitness ritual common to many animals' reproductive behavior.

    • Chimps are quite close. Frankly, humans should be called "pans" rather than "homo" due to the similarity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lloyd_Bryant (73136)

      From what I've read, I'd also disagree with the article that meat is so valuable to their diet. They LOVE meat, but other research suggests that the amount of energy expended on hunting compared to what they gain in protein/food is a net negative. Hunting is also high risk and includes getting injured in the process.

      What about the protein gain for the female, exclusive of the male's effort? A higher protein diet would be a big survival advantage for pregnant/nursing females, as well as for developing offspring.

      So the balance may be against the hunter (he has to not only hunt the meat, but also gather other food to offset the net energy loss from the hunting), but may improve the survival probabilities of the female/offspring, which would in turn improve the chances of the male's DNA surviving.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nutria (679911)

      I'd also disagree with the article that meat is so valuable to their diet. They LOVE meat, but other research suggests that the amount of energy expended on hunting compared to what they gain in protein/food is a net negative. Hunting is also high risk and includes getting injured in the process.

      They might need meat for the same reason we do: essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fat that their fruit/plant diet either lacks or is deficient in.

  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:04PM (#27512487)
    ...at a high rate of give and take.
  • Bonobos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:04PM (#27512493) Homepage

    I can believe this is a new discovery for the Common Chimpanzee. But for their close relatives the Bonobos, I saw documentaries decades ago showing not just the long term pair-bonding/mating-behavior related food-giving described in TFA, but outright prostitution. As in a male chimp comes up to a female with a banana in his hand, kinda tugs on her, she reacts neutrally, he hands her the banana and tugs again, they go off and have sex. And lest you hold on to the notion that this was still mating-related behavior, the sex in question was oral.

    Ah, Bonobos [wikipedia.org]. Gotta love those crazy nympho primates. I could be wrong but I think the Common Chimp is closer to us genetically, but I think the Bonobo is closer to us psychologically. I was going to say socially, but I don't know many human societies where genital rubbing is used as a greeting or where orgies break out whenever they acquire food.

    • Re:Bonobos (Score:5, Funny)

      by suricatta (617778) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:26PM (#27512639)
      If you ever find such a human society, can you let us know? Thanks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        If you ever find such a human society, can you let us know? Thanks.

        If websites that require a credit card don't count, then I'm still looking my friend. Still looking.

    • I doubt this is new at all. Maybe a new discovery. Basically, lazy chimps, or (weak chimps) that cannot acquire more food then they need get laid less often then hard working chimps (or strong chimps), that easily get more food then they need. Isn't this what evolution is based upon? The strong get laid, procreate and the weak don't get laid and don't procreate?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        I doubt this is new at all. Maybe a new discovery.

        Um well yeah, obviously it's news in the sense of us discovering it, not that chimps suddenly started doing it.

        Isn't this what evolution is based upon? The strong get laid, procreate and the weak don't get laid and don't procreate?

        Sure, but not every animal or mammal for that matter used food gifts to express that strength to a mate, and we didn't know chimpanzees did, as tfa says. And it isn't necessarily the case that the ones that share are getting more

    • Re:Bonobos (Score:5, Interesting)

      by yali (209015) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:43PM (#27513133)

      male chimp comes up to a female with a banana in his hand, kinda tugs on her, she reacts neutrally, he hands her the banana and tugs again, they go off and have sex.

      Part of what's new about this finding is that the chimpanzees are engaging in a long-term exchange, not just an instantaneous trade like in your bonobo example. The male chimp gives the female some meat now, and at some point later in time she mates with him.

      This is interesting because the ability to engage in long-term exchanges requires some pretty sophisticated cognitive machinery that isn't necessary for an instantaneous trade. You have to keep track of who you have active deals with and what the running balance is, and you have to be sensitive to cheaters (and have an effective response, like ostracizing them) lest you get exploited. Evolutionary psychologists think that humans have special cognitive adaptations [ucsb.edu] to help us manage long-term exchanges. This study appears to present evidence of similar abilities in other primates.

    • Bonobos and chimpanzees are the same distance from us genetically; chimpanzees/bonobos branched after they both branched from our common ancestor.

      Eivind.

    • Different behaviour (Score:4, Informative)

      by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 09, 2009 @03:51AM (#27515039) Homepage Journal

      The point of TFA is that outright prostitution does NOT exist. Giving meat does not produce results there and then and does not guarantee them in the future. It's not a pay-to-play deal.

      What is observed with chimps is something far more interesting, as it shows an awareness of delayed gratification on the part of the males and of long-term strategies by the females.

      Basically, meat is nutritionally high-value food compared to anything the females can get otherwise. This means that giving meat to the females improves the health and strength of the females. The female doesn't reward the male for the meat, but rather rewards the male for superior long-term care and support.

      In other words, it's not an exchange, nothing is being bartered, and no individual gift by either side is connected in any way to any individual gift by the other. Instead, it looks much closer to long-term strategies by both sides where a move might be planned weeks or months in advance.

      To compare chimps with bonobos is like comparing (theoretically intelligent) economists with stock market day-traders. I'd argue the chimps are actually smarter than economists, as chimps have fewer housing bubbles and the meat supply doesn't go bankrupt as often.

      For all the primitiveness of the exchange, this indicates an extremely high level of intelligence that is beyond a fairly large percent of the human population. Humans do NOT do well on delayed gratification.

  • Oldest profession? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anenome (1250374) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:11PM (#27512533)

    Damn, we call it the 'oldest profession' and had no idea just how far back it went :P

  • And (Score:3, Funny)

    by shellster_dude (1261444) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:13PM (#27512545)
    All the hottest chimps get fat. Seems like a bad system to me.
  • Plank institute? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CorvisRex (1266594)
    Begin Rhetorical Question>> The thing that confuses me... the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology? Evolutionary Anthropology would be pretty low on my list if I was going to list things associated with Max Plank. Why on earth did they name an Anthropology Institute after a Theoretical Physicist? Don't get me wrong, Plank is one of the great names in physics, and one of the most brilliant men to have lived in the 20th Century... but Anthropology?!? Is there some connection between e
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Germany has quite a lot of Max-Planck Institutes. Name association.

      I at least got to work at a particle-physics Max Planck Institute, so it was appropriately named.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Max Planck Society is the basic research organization that exists parallel to the universities in Germany. Used to be called Kaiser Wilhelm Society but was renamed after the war.

  • I always wondered where that phrase came from...
  • by memorycardfull (1187485) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:54PM (#27512815)
    about exactly how they word their craigslist ad when they do it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @09:59PM (#27512859)

    It seems an objective way to see if a potential mate has the capability of bringing home the bacon (sorry for the pun), thereby being a good indicator on whether the male could provide for a family that would result from copulation (unless they have safe sex ;) ).
    If the male chimp doesn't have enough to share, he isn't probably very good at getting food - and you wouldn't want to propagate those genes. Did they check whether the chimps that shared the most also gathered the most?
    So why is it being made to sound like prostitution, when it clearly is more like survival of the fittest - the female bangs the best male?

  • ...we throw in some flowers. Maybe a show.

    rj

  • ... with apologies to Hustle and Flow.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:09PM (#27512941)

    ...Vegans exchange cucumbers and cheese tacos.

  • Not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vadim_t (324782) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @10:11PM (#27512955) Homepage

    There was an article some years ago about monkeys (not sure if chimpanzees or not) being trained to use money.

    Researchers taught them that discs of metal could be exchanged for food and such things. They got all sorts of interesting behaviors out of it, including the monkeys attempting to fake the money.

    One uncomfortable discovery was discovering that some of them were actually using that money to pay for sex.

    This seems even better than this one. Food for sex is a straightforward exchange. Tokens that can be used to obtain food for sex is more complicated, and shows a deeper understanding.

  • I'm having a BBQ next weekend, what kinds of meat are they offering?
  • by echtertyp (1094605) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:02PM (#27513267)
    The BBC article is mostly interesting for how closely chimp behavior is to human behavior--who knew chimps were so much like us, socially?

    For us humans, the key thing (at least for males) is to avoid the marriage trap. Outside of marriage, the resources-for-nookie exchange holds true at market rates. Imbalances are corrected by the laws of microeconomics.

    But once locked in a marriage contract, a human male MUST provide resources under penalty of law, while the female is not obligated to do...anything. The predictable result is the epidemic of sexless marriages in the U.S. and other developed countries.

    So, just beware the marriage trap. It's like signing an oil futures contract where you're required to deliver oil at $12 a barrel, indefinitely. You'd be a fool to sign either a $12/bbl oil contract, or a marriage contract.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Maxo-Texas (864189)

      Having a good marriage is probably 25% likely.

      But here's the problem....
      Hubby or Wife asks spouse for sex and is rejected. Ego hit. And unavoidable.
      Enough ego hits, and you just don't WANT to risk another rejection. Deadly Embrace condition.

      Meanwhile, the guy or lady you see on the sly only at lunchtime on thursdays is there for *one* thing. If you are not feeling well, you cancel it in advance and no rejection. That sex is *incredible* over a long enough period. No rejections, no ego damage to your s

  • by Chienne Folle (1526929) on Wednesday April 08, 2009 @11:07PM (#27513291)
    I find it interesting that the author of the BBC article is assuming that the male chimps are trading meat for sex. The original article goes on to state that female chimps don't hunt, so they can't obtain meat on their own. When the male chimps donate meat to the female chimps, they don't just get more sex, they also increase the chances that the female chimp will take in enough protein and calories to bear a healthy baby.

    Humans look at the male chimp's giving the female chimp meat as "trading" meat for sex, but there are a lot of other constructions that could be put on that behavior. He could just as easily be trying to assure that his offspring will be healthy. Or trying to assure the health and well-being of a female that he's come to care about.

    The original article says that people had tried to find meat-for-sex exchanges in chimps before and failed, because they didn't give the animals enough credit for long-term planning. They looked to see if Chimp A gave meat to Chimp B, then had sex with her two minutes later, and they didn't find that. The current researchers succeeded because they took a longer-term view and counted meat-giving and sexual activity over time. But it's possible that they're still not giving the animals enough credit -- what if the meat-giving isn't trading meat for sex but is something else entirely?

    Observations of primate behavior will never tell us anything until we learn to just report what we see the animals doing, then think of every plausible reason why they might be doing that, rather than assuming that the animals aren't capable of doing what we do.
    • Ahh... yes. And the reason that guy is taking you out to dinner is because he's interested in the long-term survivability of your (future) offspring.

    • by cpghost (719344)
      Quite right. Even scientists fall prey to anthropocentrism [wikipedia.org] sometimes; esp. when it comes to a species that is so close to ours.
    • Nope, no "deal" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ErkDemon (1202789)
      Actually, the BBC summary is wrong.

      Chimpanzees enter into "deals" whereby they exchange meat for sex, according to researchers.

      ... is, actually, almost the opposite of what the researchers found. They'd initially been trying to find evidence supporting that hypothesis, and had failed, because they'd found no evidence of any such transactions taking place.

      What they did find was that, "amazingly", chimps who were generous with their food, and shared it whether a female was up for sex or not, ended up gett

  • Any chimp who offers meat for sex is too lazy to masturbate!
  • There are two stories here. The johns are trying to get laid, so it suggests sex for pleasure, which is rare among animals. And the hookers suggest they are willing to barter for food instead of working to acquire it directly.

    Maybe a third story, which is they are somehow able to come to an agreement over each party's responsibilities without using words, giving researchers hope that someday they will be able to visit hookers without fear of finding a cop instead.

It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground. -- Daniel B. Luten

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