Feeds

Monkey poo probe reveals secrets of middle-management brains

If you have any, fling it now

Intelligent flash storage arrays

It might be tough at the top, or at the bottom - but it's even tougher in the middle.

That's the claim made by boffins from Liverpool and Manchester universities who say their study of monkeys proves that middle managers suffer more stress than anyone else.

'If you could go ahead and remember to do that from now on'

Katie Edwards, from Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology, spent almost 600 hours observing female Barbary macaques at Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire.

She watched one specific female over the course of a day, noting down every interaction with other monkeys, ranging from fights to grooming or "hind-quarter presentation", more commonly known in the human world as mooning.

What she found was that monkeys in the middle of the hierarchy were forced into conflicts with animals both above and below them in a bid to maintain their status in the group.

When she then tested the middle monkeys' faeces, there were considerably higher levels of stress hormones.

Edwards suggested the results might prove that human middle managers have a harder time than their bosses and their underlings.

She said:

It’s possible to apply these findings to other social species too, including human hierarchies. People working in middle management might have higher levels of stress hormones compared to their boss at the top or the workers they manage. These ambitious mid-ranking people may want to access the higher-ranking lifestyle which could mean facing more challenges, whilst also having to maintain their authority over lower-ranking workers.

Dr Susanne Shultz, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester, supervised the research.

She said:

What we found was that monkeys in the middle of the hierarchy are involved with conflict from those below them as well as from above, whereas those in the bottom of the hierarchy distance themselves from conflict. The middle ranking macaques are more likely to challenge, and be challenged by, those higher on the social ladder.

After studying stressed out simians, Edwards is now studying horny rhinos at Chester Zoo. She hopes her examination of sexy hormones in the animals will encourage them to breed.

Edwards' research is published in the journal General and Comparative Endocrinology, here. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Kip Thorne explains how he created the black hole for Interstellar
Movie special effects project spawns academic papers on gravitational lensing
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.