Cash-maximizing macaque thieves demand ransoms – Marginal REVOLUTION

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On the Uluwatu temple in Bali, monkeys imply enterprise. The long-tailed macaques who roam the traditional web site are notorious for overtly robbing unsuspecting vacationers and clinging on to their possessions till meals is obtainable as ransom cost.

Researchers have discovered they’re additionally expert at judging which objects their victims worth probably the most and utilizing this info to maximise their revenue.

Shrewd macaques want to focus on objects that people are almost certainly to alternate for meals, corresponding to electronics, moderately than objects that vacationers care much less about, corresponding to hairpins or empty digicam baggage, mentioned Dr Jean-Baptiste Leca, an affiliate professor within the psychology division on the College of Lethbridge in Canada and lead creator of the research.

Cellphones, wallets and prescription glasses are among the many high-value possessions the monkeys intention to steal. “These monkeys have grow to be consultants at snatching them from absent-minded vacationers who didn’t take heed to the temple employees’s suggestions to maintain all valuables inside zipped purses firmly tied round their necks and backs,” mentioned Leca.

After spending greater than 273 days filming interactions between the animals and temple guests, researchers discovered that the macaques would demand higher rewards – corresponding to extra meals – for higher-valued objects.

Bargaining between a monkey robber, vacationer and a temple employees member very often lasted a number of minutes. The longest wait earlier than an merchandise was returned was 25 minutes, together with 17 minutes of negotiation. For lower-valued objects, the monkeys had been extra more likely to conclude profitable bartering periods by accepting a lesser reward.

Right here is the full story, by way of David Curran.