Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Monkey Island

Published 17 Jun 2018. Tags: animals, neuroscience.

I heard this (true) story several years ago, and it’s stuck with me:

A zoo keeps its monkeys on an island in the middle of a small lake. You can take a tour on a catamaran that motors around the island. A zookeeper answers questions over the boat’s loudspeaker.

A tour member asks, “I notice that there’s no fence around the lake. Why don’t the monkeys escape?”

“Good question,” says the zookeeper. “Members of this species of monkey are naturally strong swimmers, and any of these monkeys could easily paddle across the lake and leave the zoo. But none of the monkeys in this colony have ever seen another monkey swim, so they don’t realize that they can.”

I’m sure I’m a monkey, but I can’t figure out how. Which is the problem with being on Monkey Island.