The X account, Out of Context Monkeys, posted a video earlier this summer of a funny interaction between a man and a monkey. It has over 300,000 views, and people in the comments display a worldwide fascination with human-primate relationships.
In the video, a man and a monkey sit next to each other on camp chairs outside. They both appear to be relaxing in the shade on what seems to be a warm summer day. The man scrolls on his phone, not paying the monkey much attention, and then the primate begins to tap him on his arm.
The man looks up at his friend and puts his hand up to his ear, expecting the monkey to whisper something to him. The monkey leans his head in and the man nods. He pulls away and the monkey leans his head in to hear his friend’s whispered response. Shocked at the information, the monkey pulls away suddenly. He leans back in his camp chair and puts his monkey hand up to his mouth, processing what he just learned.
The man appears to look something up on his phone and holds it up to the monkey, proving what he told him is true. The monkey takes the phone and looks at it for himself. The man points at a specific section on the phone and the monkey looks at him.
National Geographic had a few things to say about exchanges like this one in their article titled, “Can Monkeys Befriend People?”
Experts concluded that though primates are social creatures, much of their friendliness toward humans is a result of food. They also explained that since living in a small society is vital to group survival, it’s common to observe them “express empathy to one another.”
National Geographic concluded its article with a warning. They said, “Under no circumstance should an untrained professional approach a wild monkey. In addition to potential harm a monkey could inflict on a human, such as a bite or disease, people can also spread disease to the animals or disrupt their natural eating, foraging, or behavioral patterns. Remaining a safe and respectful distance is always the best way to observe wildlife.”