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Zoology/Can a monkey really commit


QUESTION: Hi there,

First of all, let me make it clear that this is not a joke or spam question.

I am know that monkeys do very "human like" stuff like masturbation or even smoking a cigarette. But I red somewhere that there was a group of monkeys and a she monkey was among them. That she monkey went to the other monkey and committed "adultery" with it. All of the other monkeys gathered around the she monkey and started to stone it as a form of "punishment" because she had committed "adultery" with another male monkey. I mean can you believe it? Is it even possible according to the principles of zoology to accept such a thing? Is there a scientific proof which can refute it? It will be very helpful if you can provide an article. I thought female monkeys mate with several different male monkeys without getting "punished" or "stoned" for committing "adultery".


ANSWER:    Hi Den
First of all I would have to know the source of this information. My first response is that this is nonsense. You mentioned "monkeys". Most primates are monogamous. But are capable of cheating on their mates. The primates most likely to do this are Homo sapiens. The response to this( in the case you quote is stoning the female) is stupid behavior of humans. Other animals have little choice with regard to their behavior. I would expect an adulterous monkey or ape to be ignored.

I cannot quote any articles to refute this because I hav enever heard of this before

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Walter,

Thanks for your answer. Personally, I did a little research about this topic and found that female monkeys, chimpanzees, bonobos, etc engage with multiple male sex partners. According to

"Enter Dr. Tim Birkhead of the University of Sheffield (England), author of the ground-breaking Promiscuity: An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition . With research spanning the broad spectrum of the animal kingdom, Birkhead discovered that female promiscuity that is, females having sex with multiple partners, sometimes regardless of their resources or status is the norm rather than the exception.

In fact, females of most species, from damselflies to penguins, routinely copulate with several different mates. And this is especially true among the higher mammals, such as chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom humans share approximately 99% of DNA.

According to Jane Goodall ( The Chimpanzees of Gombe ), a female chimp may mate with different males of her group as many as 50 times a day, and will actively seek out low-status chimps from other bands for even more sexual encounters.

And bonobos, who act and appear even more similar to humans than chimps, are the real swingers of the animal kingdom they participate in virtual gang-bangs and sex (even lesbian sex) solely for the sake of pleasure."

Here is the link:-

Therefore, I really doubt that a female monkey can really commit "adultery" with another male monkey. Not only that, I really doubt that she can really get "stoned" by other monkeys as a form of "punishment" for committing "adultery" with another male monkey.

So scientifically speaking, this is something that can not be comprehended by any logical mind of a person.

What do you say?

Thank you.

Interesting information Den. It appears that female primates are even more promiscuous then the males. they are not adulterous they are juat behaving  as their DNA directs them. I doubt if they behave this way just for fun however but such activity affects the gene pool
It seems that true loyalty occurs mainly in water fowl.

You mentioned invertebrate behavior regarding sex. Female spiders only mate once. There is a species where the male after mating breaks off his penis in the female and no other males can mate with her

You mentioned Lesbian sex in female chimps. It may shock Homophobes to to know 1500 species of animals engage in homosexual activity. It is not si unusual after all  


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Walter Hintz


I can answer questions about both vertebrate and invertebrate zoology. I am an expert in animal behavior, especially birds.


I have taught for over 50 years. I teach college biology courses and I have led tours to the Galapagos Islands and the Belize rain forest

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