Prostitution among animals
Currently there are a few studies suggesting that prostitution exists among different species of animals such as Adélie Penguins, chimpanzees, and crab-eating macaque. Penguins use stones for building their nests. Based on a 1998 study, media reports stated that a shortage of stones led female Adélie Penguins to trade sex for stones. The female penguins, even when in a committed relationship, will exchange sexual favors with strange males for the pebbles they need to build their nests. Prostitution is also observed among chimpanzees, who trade food for sex.
The first documented case of prostitution in animals was reported in 1998 by Fiona Hunter, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, and Lloyd Davis of the University of Otago, who had spent five years observing the mating behavior of penguins. The study was conducted as part of an Antarctica New Zealand programme on the Ross Island, approximately 800 miles (1,300 km) from the South Pole.
The female penguins observed under the study were coupled with males. The females will go outside alone to collect pebbles, but the males did not suspect their female partners. According to the observations and analysis made by Hunter, the prostitute penguins targeted single males, because if instead they picked a male penguin with a partner, the male penguin's current partner will come in conflict with the prostitute female.
According to the study and subsequent reporting by BBC News Online, the female penguins would sometimes perform courtship ritual as a trick to lure the males leading to sexual intercourse. However, after taking the pebbles, the females would run off. BBC further reported Hunter as saying that the female penguins probably didn't engage in prostitution only for stones. Hunter believed "what they are doing is having copulation for another reason and just taking the stones as well. We don't know exactly why, but they are using the males." This behavior was also suggested as a mate choice process by which the females might find a possible future mate. This would provide a female penguin with another male penguin should their current mate die. The male penguins, the study speculates, were engaged in sex with the prostitute females only for sexual satisfaction.
A study conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and published online in the Public Library of Science, found support for the meat-for-sex behaviour hypothesis, according to which, in early human societies the best male hunters had the maximum number of sexual partners. Researchers observed chimpanzees in the Taï National Park and concluded that a form of prostitution exists among the chimpanzees in which females offer sex to males in exchange for meat. According to Cristina Gomes of the Institute, the study "strongly suggests that wild chimpanzees exchange meat for sex, and do so on a long-term basis".
In a study at Yale – New Haven Hospital, capuchin monkeys were taught to use silver discs as money. Researchers observed that some of the monkeys who learned the monetary value of the discs would trade them for sexual favors.
- "Penguins are turning to prostitution". BBC. 1998-02-26.
- Prostitution in animals. The Cambridge Student
- Connor, Steve (2009-04-08). "Sex for meat – how chimps seduce their mates". The Independent (London).
- McKee, Maggie (2005-01-02) Mating in a Material World, National Wildlife Federation
- Hunter, E.M.; Davis, S.L. (1998). "Female Adélie Penguins Acquire Nest Material from Extrapair Males after Engaging in Extrapair Copulations". The Auk 115 (2): 526–528. doi:10.2307/4089218.
- Cristina M. Gomes and Christophe Boesch (2009). "Wild Chimpanzees Exchange Meat for Sex on a Long-Term Basis". PLOS One 4 (4): e5116. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005116. PMC 2663035. PMID 19352509.
- Gumert, Michael D. (2007). "Payment for sex in a macaque mating market". Animal Behaviour 74 (6): 1655. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.03.009.