Tourists take the expression of aggression by wild monkeys for the smiles and air kisses.
It found the scientists published their findings in the journal PeerJ.
According to them, this lack of understanding of facial expressions of animals leads to injury of people and primates.
During the study, researchers showed pictures of monkey two groups of participants. Members of one of them at least a few months working with monkeys, the other members never had business with them.
The photo was a picture of a monkey face which expressed aggression, irritation, friendliness, or was neutral.
The results showed that people who had to work with monkeys, took an expression of aggression (raised eyebrows, open mouth, bared teeth) for the positive attitude of the animal. Although all study participants were periodically made mistakes, the experts did it only in 7% of cases, and the newcomers – 40%.
In the reserves people trying to communicate with the monkeys repeat their facial expressions, thus taking a risk to show aggressive attitude to provoke the attack.
Given the growing popularity of reserves among tourists, researchers believe that visitors need to be instructed about the behavior of animals.