Websites: Non-Art Interspecies Collaborations
Harry F. Harlow, Monkey Love Experiments
Related animals: Human, Monkey

Harlow's experiment required wire cutters, cardboard cones, hot coils, steel nails, and soft cloth. He used the wire cutters to fashion a wire mother, its torso patterned with small squares, a single inflexible breast "on the ventral front." Affixed to this breast, a steel nipple pierced with a tiny hole through which the monkey milk could flow. Then Harlow fashioned a soft surrogate, a cardboard cone bunted in a terry cloth towel. He wrote, "The result was a mother, soft, warm, and tender, a mother with infinite patience, a mother available 24 hours a day . . .. It is our opinion that we engineered a very superior monkey mother, although this position is not held universally by monkey fathers." First Harlow took a group of newborn rhesus macaque babies and put them in a cage with the two surrogate mothers: the wire mother full of food, the cloth mother with an empty breast and a sweet smile. After the initial trauma, something amazing started to happen. Within days, the baby macaques transferred their affections from the real mother, who was no longer available, to the cloth surrogate. The cloth mother, however, had no milk, so when the youngsters were hungry, they would dart over to the chicken-wire mother and then run back to the safety of the soft towel. Harlow graphed the mean amount of time the monkeys spent nursing versus cuddling. The disparity in favor of cuddling, he wrote, was "so great as to suggest that the primary function of nursing . . . is that of insuring frequent and intimate body contact of the infant with the mother." Harlow was establishing that love grows from touch, not taste, which is why, when the mother's milk dries up, the child continues to love her. The child then takes this love, the memory of it, and recasts it outward, so that every interaction is a replay and a revision of this early touch. "Certainly," writes Harlow, "man cannot live by milk alone." taken from:

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