Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Who blinks first?

I often compare the behavior of my gang to their brothers and sisters in the wild. When I see Moñito take a flying leap into the middle of a brightly colored hammock filled with plastic balls, throwing the balls everywhere in the enclosure. When he is closely followed by Lucio and then Schatov and the last of the balls scatters across the ground. I wonder what if any is the wild monkey equivalent. Well of course there is no direct similarity because monkeys in semi captivity learn a whole new group of skills. But just the same, play is practice for life situations. The competition of the game with hammock and balls is the important feature. Who jumps the furthest, who causes the most disruption or even the most noise. The facing off and the threatening calls are also part of this practice for life situations. Our picture shows Schatov on the right and Lucio on the left. They are playing ‘who blinks first’. This is a game that Howlers never tire of. They will yell at each other and even make a tentative poke but never actually get into conflict.

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