Bougainville Island is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea. This region is also known as Bougainville Province or the North Solomons. The island is named after the French explorer Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville, who attempted to land on the island in June 1767. According to Bougainville’s own account, his shore parties were attacked by mysterious adversaries.

The French parties withdrew believing they had been attacked by unfriendly locals, but it was not the local islanders who had attacked, it was a group of monkeys, who had realised centuries earlier the local pineapple crop could be used for purposes other than food. As the party walked up the beach, they were ambushed from left and right by monkeys throwing pineapples from the trees. The monkeys were extremely good shots and a number of soldiers were hit in the head by an unripe pineapple causing lacerations and headaches.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided