Because I am interested in everything having to do with our cousins the monkeys and apes, I was fascinated by a recent piece on the Discovery News site entitled “Monkeys Appreciate Monkey Music and Metallica.” You can click the preceding link to read it for yourself, but allow me to excerpt the key parts here:

To create music with more monkey appeal, [cellist and author David] Teie composed pieces using specific features in the tamarin calls, manipulating rising or falling pitches and the duration of various sounds. The music was inspired by sounds the tamarins make to convey one of two messages: fear and friendly affiliation.

When the music was played to seven pairs of adult cotton-top tamarins housed at the University of Wisconsin, the monkeys became more anxious and jittery when they heard the fearful monkey music. They then calmed down, and sometimes even foraged, upon hearing the affiliation-based music.

Regular human music was also played to the monkeys, which predictably showed little response, except for a very surprising, calming response to the heavy metal band Metallica.

That last bit is perhaps the most surprising—not just that monkeys like Metallica, but that they find it relaxing. Perhaps another manifestation of the phenomenon that makes Ritalin calm down hyperactive kids? Some genius better get a grant to study this.

And here’s another news flash from the same site that just caught my eye:

Chimpanzees Empathize with Animated Apes