Monkey CEO, Monkey Due
By David Futrelle

(MONEY Magazine) – Sure, some of those sleazy execs trudging into courtrooms may ultimately prove themselves not guilty of fraud. But most of them, it's fair to say, were guilty of fairly obnoxious behavior. Even if they don't go to jail, just getting them out of the corner office may be enough to make the business world a better place. At least if I'm reading my baboon history right.


A fascinating new study (available at tells the true story of a troop of Kenyan baboons transformed from a fractious gang given to Apprentice-style squabbling and posturing into a kinder, gentler troop more interested in grooming than bashing each other with bananas. The change was not inspired by a visit from the baboon equivalent of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Fab Five. No, it came after an outbreak of tuberculosis killed off Forest Troop's alpha males--a nasty bunch who had spent most of their time fighting and jockeying for position at a local garbage dump that, unfortunately for them, turned out to have been infected with tainted meat. And thus did the meek inherit the troop. Lovers, not fighters, the new alpha males had little interest in replicating the brutish power structure of their former tormentors. Forest Troop became a peaceable kingdom--and remained so even after a generation of new males joined the pack. We should be so lucky. --DAVID FUTRELLE