Brass Monkey

The Caribbean island of St. Kitts has a population of vervet monkeys that were imported from Africa during the time of the Atlantic slave trade. Much like raccoons (only much smarter) these creatures live off the detritus that humans leave behind. Being that this is a island with a large tourist economy that means fleecing the tourists.

I’ve never really been able to articulate why it is that people everywhere and from all walks of life, from rich to poor, find their own ways to pursue intoxication. Its like we have an inborn drive to explore other states of consciousness, but why?

This video is totally fascinating to me because it shows how some primates exhibit very similar behaviors. So possibly, our quest for periodic intoxication is something that even predates our species.

And yes, I just referenced the Beastie Boys. I’m that old.


About Matt Thompson

Matt Thompson is a project cataloger at The Mariners' Museum library. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and was formerly a professor at ODU. You can find him on Twitter @m4ttTh0mps0n.
This entry was posted in Altered States, Primates. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Brass Monkey

  1. venus n da sky says:

    I wanted the monkeys to drink out of the straws so bad. I find it fascinating that there is a similar ratio of drinkers to non-drinkers in monkeys to humans. I’m just glad they don’t drive. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Andrew says:

    Beastie Boys are the shit!

  3. Nick Leider says:

    This is too funny! I almost fell out of my chair when one monkey jumped off a table with a drink in his hand, and the drink did not spill. Enjoy the break Professor Thompson.

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