Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Teaching your kids to floss – macaque style

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-07-18

Long-tailed macaques near an old Buddhist shrine in Lopburi, Thailand, often pull hair from female tourists for use as dental floss.  When female monkeys see their young watching them, they exaggerate their flossing. –

If you want a video, go to "Learn From Mum", National Geographic, 2009-03-12, but you’ll need to temporarily disable your adblocker if you run that plugin!

It’s the exagerration that I find significant.

In the NatGeo video, the movements do seem different when a child is around.  It seems the female opens the mouth wider, and is more into showing the "floss" going into the mouth, rather than flossing from side to side.

It’s a bit like when I’m trying to teach my grandson to clean his teeth, mouth wide (and drooling) so he can see inside it and how I’m using the toothbrush on teeth not tongue, bit spits.

…and I cannot help wondering if the culture of that particular macaque tribe have started to floss because they eat so much junk food from monks and tourists!


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