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Vail Daily column: Howler monkeys caught sexting

Robert Valko
Dear Darwin
Vail, CO Colorado

Eager to jump on the sexting bandwagon, a troop of male howler monkeys in Costa Rica broke into a motel office and started copying and faxing images of certain body parts to a female howler troop in Belize. The males were apparently a little confused about exactly what to fax though. Within minutes of sending the images, highly controversial pictures of big toes, fury ears, and bony kneecaps started showing up on the receiving end.

As I pulled into Costa Rica in my sex-crime investigation unit – a ’73 Mustang with a missing back bumper – I parked in the Piggly Wiggly lot near Michael’s Surf-side motel. Mike’s check-in office was the scene of the crime. Mike is promptly woken at 6 a.m. daily by howlers that lob mangoes on the motel’s tin roof, just to annoy him.

The investigation proved to more challenging than expected. As I exited my SCV, I was shelled with mangoes. Watching the unripe fruit bounce off the hood of my car, I overheard a bunch of hootin’ and hollering and the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” by Twisted Sister.



The howlers apparently knew I was going to be questioning them and were not happy about it. The Mustang had taken quite a beating – good thing I had my plunger with me.

After I finished pulling the dents out, I strolled over to the tree where the offenders were congregated. “Listen guys, I just want to ask you a few questions,” I said.

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A tribal elder jumped out of the tree and landed on the roof of my car with a huge thud. He let out a yell so loud it could be heard three miles away (That is, by the way, the distance that howler monkey yelps travel.)

“What the hell do you want?” he said as he spit a mango pit at me.

“What’s up with the mangoes?” I asked.



“Well, we were watching ‘Planet of the Apes’ through Mike’s office window, and we got some ideas of our own.”

“I see. And what inspired you guys to fax pictures of your elbows to your female counterparts?”

“Simple. We’re looking to expand the Howler Empire and promote the No-Chimp-Left-Behind Act.”

“Well alriiiighty then,” I said, doing my best Ace Ventura. “And how did you come up with the idea of faxing your armpits?”

“We heard that Anthony Weiner was promoting his cause through Facebook, so we tried doing the same. None of us could figure out that damn Internet thing though, so we went old-school and started fax blasting.”

“I see. So, you were trying to expand the Empire by sending images of fury ears?”

“Yeah man, we wanted to get the babes horny.”

“I see. And exactly what is the ‘No-Chimp-Left-Behind’ Act?”

“The ‘No-Chimp-Left-Behind Act’ simply mandates that all young howlers must be trained to use mangoes as warheads against tourists that get too close to howler headquarters.”

In closing, the tribal elder went off in a daydream and started singing a Police song … “Don’t stand so, don’t stand so, don’t stand so close to me.”

This Dear Darwin piece was brought to you buy a study that appeared in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology. The study noted that the sexual content in the lyrics of many songs is indicative of our species’ propensity to procreate. Pure genius, guys. Actually, it did parse country music lyrics from pop lyrics and found that pop hits were more about one night stands while country chart toppers were about family and long term relationships. Obviously, sexting also came along for reasons also related to shaking your groove thang. Let’s just hope that sexting does not bleed into the “over 100” age group. (I must admit that I am considering it.)

Eagle County resident Robert Valko is a graduate of Northwestern University. Email him with column ideas at vailko@yahoo.com.


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