Lonely Deer-Humping Monkey Shocks Scientists, Internet

It's only the second time such a thing has been documented
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2017 5:35 PM CST

One lonely snow monkey in Japan is taking animal sexuality to strange new places. In a study published Tuesday in Primates, researchers documented a monkey having or attempting sexual relations with at least two sika deer. While one of the deer ran off, the monkey mounted another deer and ejaculated on its side, Gizmodo reports. According to the BBC, a co-author of the study says the act "included about 15 sexual movements over a period of 10 seconds." While sex between closely related species does happen, this is only the second time a sexual act between two distantly related species has been recorded, the Guardian reports. (The first was in 2006, involving an Antarctic fur seal and a penguin.)

Snow monkeys and sika deer have had an up-until-now platonic relationship. Deer eat fruit dropped by the monkeys (as well as their poop), while the monkeys groom the deer and sometimes ride on their backs. In this case, however, the monkey was displaying "clearly sexual behavior," including chasing other monkeys away from the deer, notes the study. Researchers are blaming "mate deprivation," theorizing that the monkey—who has low social status—was suffering from "limited access to females." The incident happened during snow monkey breeding season. (Meanwhile, a North Korean zoo has a smoking chimp.)

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