Monkey flossing

Monkey flossing became a formal practice, at least experimentally, in the late 1970s, thanks to a dentist named Jack Caton. Twenty years later, a physician, David C Sokal, inspired by the monkey flossing, patented a top/bottom flossing-reminder and floss-dispensing device for humans. Monkeys themselves apparently began unassistedly flossing not long afterwards. But in all probability those animals were not influenced by either Caton’s experiment or Sokal’s invention….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.