Discovered this branch of science today via the TIME article Do Monkeys Pay For Sex? (How can you resist a link like that?)
Biological market theory applies economic theory to studies of behavior – in this case males trading grooming for sex with female Indonesian macaques (by the male macaques, not researchers… har), and how the grooming exchange rate decreased as the number of available females increased. Supply and demand. See the original paper by Michael D. Gumert, “Payment for sex in the macaque mating market“.
NPR did a story for their Planet MonkeyMoney podcast about vervet monkeys in Africa demonstrating economic market behavior with grooming and access to apples. Yet another reason to recommend the Planet Money podcasts.
[image courtesy of wwarby]