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Monkeys See Their Reflection & Immediately Check Out Their Butts Because of Course They Do

Monkey see, monkey... ooh that's a fine ass!


Yes, I know that’s a chimpanzee, we have more important things to discuss. Monkeys’ love of their own butts.

So… I don’t remember the first time I saw myself in a mirror, do you? For most of us I’d assume it happened when we were toddlers and we probably couldn’t even stand up to look at our butt if we tried.

Humans can recognize their own reflections (because seeing and understanding what you’re looking at are two different things) as young as two, but not every creature in the animal kingdom has that ability. It was previously thought rhesus monkeys could not recognize their own reflection, but new research proves that with a little training they’re perfectly capable of finding themselves super hot.


Don’t laugh. You’ve done that. Also, don’t forget about the butt selfie stick we reported on JUST YESTERDAY.

Discover Magazine describes the training:

They sat each monkey in a secure chair facing a mirror. Then they shined a red laser dot that caused mild skin irritation somewhere on each monkey’s face. Every time monkeys pawed at the dot they received a treat. As their training progressed, monkeys pawed at a non-irritating laser dot, and eventually touched an odorless red dye mark on their faces when looking in the mirror.

After receiving their training, the monkeys were ready for their final test: the standard mark test. Researchers shined a laser pointer at different parts of the monkeys’ bodies while they were in their home cages, which were decked out with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. When the trained monkeys looked in the mirror, they rubbed and picked at the marking — passing the test for the first time. Untrained monkeys, on the other hand, didn’t acknowledge the laser dot when they looked in the mirror.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, theory confirmed with a bonus of finding out the monkeys would use their newfound knowledge to look at their butts and junk. We live in a wonderful world.

But in case you were wondering the reasoning behind this study, “the way monkeys’ brains change during their mirror training could guide researchers toward the neural origins of self-recognition,” writes Discover. “Although humans can do this automatically, this skill is impaired in people with mental disabilities, autism or Alzheimer’s. Knowing how monkeys acquire this skill could, perhaps, help people with these conditions learn it as well.” The researchers published their work in Current Biology this week.

(image via Shutterstock, Copyright: Everett Collection)

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."