(portions of Ken Keyes book follow)
The story of the Hundredth Monkey.
Written from memory by Christopher A. Brown 12/19/02 from a reading of the original book produced by the team of biologists studying the Macaca Fuscata on Yoshimi island in the 1950s.
The bios had been watching the monkeys for many years and had come to know them so well that they had names for them. One year there was a tremendous period of storms lasting over three months. The monkeys inhabited a valley that mouthed at the sea in a cove. There was a wide floodway that emptied near the center of the cove.
On one side of the cove there was large stand of trees bearing fruit that was the major food source for the monkeys. That side had no water. The other side had a spring and some fruit trees but not as much food generally.
It had been very dry and most of the monkeys were spending their nights on the side with the spring so water was available in the morning. later they would cross the small valley and harvest fruit to return later in the day for water.
One night the storms began with a exceedingly heavy downpour. So much rain fell that the monkeys could not cross in the morning to the side with food. The monkeys searched out what food they could find. This was not the most plentiful time of year. The biologists worried about the large population on the side with little food and projected that the food would not last long.
After about two weeks the monkeys were starving and the rain continued every few days or so keeping the flood channel 2 to 3 feet deep and flowing 15 to 20 mph. In this period the bios had decided to break their primary rule. To feed the monkeys interfering with the validity of their research. They reasoned they had been their for years and learned most of what was valuable about the behavior of their subjects while watching with telescopes from their floating barge blinds just beyond the gentle waves. They were able to see well enough to tell individuals apart and had developed names for them to distinguish them in their notes. They had become attached to their subjects and had affection for them. This sentiment overcame the strict scientific attitude of no interference and it was decided to help the monkeys to survive.
Sweet potatoes had been ordered up for the bios because they kept well and there were many on hand. A method of delivery had been devised that kept the bios hidden and actually provided a new type of observational study of the monkeys. In the night a raft was dispatched from a barge and taken into the mouth of the fresh water outlet. Beaching in fresh water flow, the bags of sweet potatoes would be dipped in the fresh water to remove what human smell could be washed away. The potatoes were then thrown by the bios onto the sand, spreading them out providing opportunity for the diverse group to be separate in the discoveries of the food in the hopes to reduce squabbling. When the wet potatoes hit the sand and rolled the sand stuck to them thickly.
The monkeys on the side with plentiful food still had plenty. A week or two went by and the bios watched the monkeys gather and eat the potatoes. They did not like the sand on them. Some nights it was raining still and they were washed on one side. The monkeys enjoyed them more. Around this time the routine of waking up in the middle of the night became tiresome and everyone was taking turns. The heavy rainfall gathered on the wide flat beach and formed a puddle during one particularly heavy rain. The puddle broke over the edge of the fresh water creek flowing to the ocean lowering the average 2 foot bank and created an eddy area where the bios could get closer to adjacent banks to distribute some of the potatoes. A few days after the potatoes were distributed there the first potatoes was washed.
One morning a baby female monkey with her aunt was near the fresh water eddy handling a sandy potatoes. The baby went down the easy slope to the fresh water and rinsed it off before eating it. The bios had several observation barges and one had a diagonal view upstream to the eddy. Through the powerful telescope they could see the baby enjoyed the clean potato much more than the gritty one. This continued for over a week.
Suddenly one morning the aunt, after the baby female washed her potato, took hers to the fresh water and followed the actions of the baby. Within a day or two her mate had mimicked the behavior. After a week and a half the practice had spread to the extended family of perhaps 15 to 20 monkeys. Slowly over the next 3 weeks up to 70 or 80 monkeys were washing potatoes in fresh water. The bios were having no trouble counting the monkeys involved with the practice until the numbers reached this point. They did their best comparing notes and they moved a barge to give a better view of an up stream area where a few monkeys had taken potatoes to eat. Around this time it was decided to distribute most of the potatoes nearer the ocean so they could observe and count the monkeys who were washing the potatoes better.
Sometime just before this the monkeys on the other side were beginning to starve. They had depleted all of the food growing naturally there and the bios had no trouble in deciding to break their rule a second time. One had decided to leave the island and explain to a higher authority why they needed such an increase in potatoes. They explained that they had garnered all the usable information they could from the monkeys over the last for or five years when the monkeys were living in a natural state and that there was a new opportunity to study the learning structures in the community of monkeys by feeding them. Larger quantities of potatoes were delivered.
(note) In the original book telling this story there was a break from the account of the monkeys behavior to note that there was a distance of perhaps three hundred feet between the two banks of the fresh water creeks and that the monkeys could not see each other or did not even pay any attention to the monkeys on the other side. Only in the upstream areas where the channel was narrower did the monkeys even notice their counterparts on the opposite banks. There was a mention that predators existed in the thicker vegetation and the monkeys liked to stay in the open near between few trees for sanctuary if needed. It was stated in this portion that because of what happened next that the bios realized that the retelling of the story, as it had happened, might be questioned due to the possibility that the monkeys on one side had learned from watching the monkeys on the other. The original story emphasized that the monkeys on one side almost never even noticed the monkeys on the other side. It was speculated that the monkeys could not see well at those distances. This realization contributed to the bios decision to distribute the potatoes closer to the ocean to improve the counting of the potato washing. In the beginning they had worried that the monkeys that rarely spent time by the ocean might notice the barges floating at the back edge of the waves while collecting potatoes nearer the ocean. it was also stated that the fresh water channel widened some making it very unlikely that monkeys near the ocean could see at all, monkeys on the other side.
At a point when about 90 monkeys were washing potatoes in fresh water the original baby monkey to first wash its potato went to the ocean to do do. It was speculated by the bios that the move of the potato distribution took the baby monkey away from its area of easy access to the fresh water and forced the baby to go to the ocean to rinse its potato. The bios noticed that the baby relished its potato greatly after rinsing in salt water. A few days later after washing the potato in salt water the aunt noticed the increased pleasure of the baby eating somewhat more potato than it had and going back and forth to the ocean for rinsing. the aunt again learned from the baby female and followed her to the ocean to rinse her food.
The learning spread quicker, the count the bios had been struggling to keep was approaching 100. At this time the monkeys on the other side were still eating sandy potatoes. One morning all of the monkeys on the side where the feeding began went to the ocean to rinse their potatoes. A few days later the all of the monkeys on the other side did the same.
the bios were astounded and immediately documented independent of the funding source what they had observed and wrote the original book titled, the Hundredth Monkey because by their very best count it was right at 100 when all of the monkeys on the side first fed began to rinse their food in fresh water. the bios noted that for a time prior to that a number of mostly older monkeys did not learn to wash potatoes at all even though they had tasted the food washed in fresh water.