Thursday, March 12, 2009

Flossing Monkeys

While it has been known for sometime now that humans are not the only species living today that use tools, this latest case study of macaques is news to me.

[A] research team observed seven female long-tailed macaques and their offspring and monitored how often the mothers cleaned the spaces between their teeth with strands of human hair, in a colony of 250 animals near Bangkok.

The study found that the frequency of teeth-cleaning roughly doubled and became more elaborate when the infant monkeys were watching, suggesting that the females were deliberately teaching their young how to floss, he said.

So not only are these macaques using tools, but it also appears they are teaching their offspring to do the same. Is it just me, or is there something slightly disturbing about the fact that these monkeys are using human hair to floss their teeth? Soon they'll start rounding us up and harvesting our hair for their diabolical dental hygiene!

Famous human round-up scene from Planet of the Apes