Monkeys steal most valuable items to trade for food, research shows
If you ever happen to be in Bali, mind your wallet
We all know that monkeys can be cunning and as it turns out, they're probably even smarter than we thought. Researches at the University of Lethbridge in Canada spent 273 days at a temple in Bali, Indonesia and recorded around 2,000 interactions between the monkeys and tourists and the result is outstanding.
Long-tailed macaques, for example, have been known to steal specific items that they deem more valuable, such as wallets and phones, in exchange for bags of fruits and raw eggs. The monkeys seem to have a clear knowledge of which items tourists may or may not consider valuable.
Previous laboratory experiments had already demonstrated that monkeys know how to value items that aren't food, based on what type of reward they receive when they return said items.
In a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society*, Dr Jean-Baptiste Leca, an associate professor of psychology at Lethbridge University, argued that monkeys learn from previous interactions and experience because younger macaques don't seem to make a distinction between different items.
So if you ever happen to be in Bali, beware of long-tailed macaques because they might steal your watch and demand a bag of peanuts in return.
*the world's first and longest-running scientific journal