Tamarin Monkeys Rock Out To Metallica

Posted on September 13, 2009

Primates of the human variety like many different types of music – from classical to rap to country to rock- but monkeys are a little pickier. Researchers in Bejing have recently found that monkeys were calmed by heavy metal while ignoring other kinds of music.


Several different samples of music, including Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis and Bach, were played for a group of cotton-top tamarin monkeys, but the testees were disinterested in all of them.

However, when researchers put on Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, the monkeys responded positively and placidly – unlike most parents of metalheads and counter to the hypothesis of the scientists, who anticipated that the heavy metal track would agitate the primates.


While the Tamarins enjoyed Metallica, they were far more interested in tunes composed specifically for them by cellist David Teie. They also displayed strong reactions to melodies composed of calls of monkeys; the sample group responded with increased anxiety levels to music composed of distressed Tamarin calls, and were calmed by the long calls that signify happiness in their species.

“Monkeys interpret rising and falling tones differently than humans. Oddly, their only response to several samples of human music was a calming response to the heavy-metal band Metallica,” said lead researcher Charles Snowdon. “If we understand how we can affect their emotional states through using musical tones and aspects of our speech, maybe those of us living with companion animals can have a better relationship with them, too.”


Rachel is a writer and tutor living in Virginia. She loves learning about other cultures and thinks we’re all a little wacky.
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11 thoughts on “Tamarin Monkeys Rock Out To Metallica

  1. two-faced joel

    i dont get it and how Researchers in Bejing have recently found that monkeys were calmed by heavy metal while ignoring other kinds of music? i also thik they wuld calm down by listening one of ozzy osbourne's

    1. Kin

      People study all sorts of random things, and actually, this is one of the more ordinary ones. Monkeys are the closest relatives to humans, why not study them? As long as it doesn't hurt them (which is unfortunately the case, sometimes) .

  2. pamela

    if it is done with personal money,there is no problem.If you are using the "peoples" money.it is seems silly to waste money on what music monkeys listen to,humans are the ones buying music not them

  3. Benj Arriola

    Metallica is really different compared to all Metal music. I can't really explain it, but I am not a hard core heavy metal fan. I know people that cannot stand listening to heavy metal, but they can listen to Metallica, that tells me something about their music. There is something in it that sets it apart. I myself am not a hard core heavy metal listener.


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