Apparently Snow Monkeys Like to Do Sex Stuff With Deer Now

Wtf, science? In a rare move, a snow monkey has been observed "attempting to have sex" with sika deer in Japan.

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Today is trash. This week, in fact, has all been trash. But, hey, at least we have the second recorded example (ever!) of so-called "sexual relations" between two distantly related species to marvel at! A male snow monkey has been observed "attempting to have sex" with female sika deer on Yakushima Island, the Guardianreported Tuesday.

The snow monkey and sika deer are known to enjoy a truly symbiotic relationship, a mutually beneficial arrangement in which deer eat monkey-dropped fruit while the monkeys catch free rides on the backs of their deer BFFs. This whole sex thing, however, is apparently a strikingly uncommon example of interspecies mating.

The Primates journal published a paper describing the observation as follows:​

"Although this phenomenon may be explained as copulation learning, this is highly unlikely. The most realistic hypothesis would be that of mate deprivation, which states that males with limited access to females are more likely to display this behaviour. Whatever the cause for this event may be, the observation of highly unusual animal behaviour may be a key to understanding the evolution of heterospecific mating behaviour in the animal kingdom."

Cool. So what are we actually observing here? A "low-ranking male monkey," the Guardiannotes, was recorded repeatedly performing "sexual mounts" on at least two female deer. Though one doe ultimately ran off, another was seen accepting the mount before licking her side post-ejaculation.

For the naysayers, there's this: Marie Pelé, a lead author of the paper based at France's University of Strasbourg, assured the Guardian that "no ambiguity" was possible and that the observed behavior was "clearly" sexual. Fair enough.

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