Primates go ape for 'monkey media player' which lets them watch videos

We wanna stream like you ooh ooh! Primates go ape for ‘monkey media player’ which lets them use interactive systems to watch videos

  • University researchers developed a ‘monkey media player’ for three monkeys
  • The white-faced saki monkeys at Korkeasaari Zoo could trigger video or sound
  • They found the primates preferred visual stimuli more than the audio stimuli

It’s not just humans who go ape for music and TV streaming services like Spotify and Netflix.

Experts have developed a ‘monkey media player’ which lets primates use interactive systems to access sounds and videos.

The touch-screen systems entertain and engage the animals with interactions that might be found in the wild. Researchers at the University of Glasgow have been focusing on three white-faced saki monkeys at Korkeasaari Zoo in Helsinki, Finland.

A small computer was placed inside a tunnel in the monkeys’ enclosure for 32 days. The animals would trigger a video or sound by walking through infra-red beams.

Three White-Faced Sakis at Korkeasaari Zoo in Finland (pictured) learnt to use a ‘monkey media player’ which has an interactive system which lets them play videos and sounds

The monkeys were played a variety of videos and sounds, including clips of worms (stock image)

They would be shown a rotating selection of rain sounds, music or traffic noises, and videos of worms, underwater scenes or abstract shapes and colours. The monkeys could listen or watch for as long as they wanted.

The device recorded what they were watching and listening to and found that the sakis’ interactions were mostly short, lasting a few seconds.

The research, led by Dr Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas from the University of Glasgow, along with colleague Vilma Kankaanpaa of Aalto University in Finland, found that, over time, the monkeys’ interactions dropped. They also interacted more with visual stimuli than the audio stimuli – but it might be a while until they are asking to watch Planet of the Apes.

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