Excerpt from the book Animals Evolution Avoided. This book describes 40 animals that ought to exist but don’t, because I made them up.


Bougainville Island is the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville of Papua New Guinea, 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 shore 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. These monkeys 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.

Monkeys would not only eat the fruit, but also use them to settle territorial disputes – the monkey that could throw a pineapple the furthest would win. The monkeys also used pineapples for hunting birds and fish. According to local legends, monkeys could knock birds from the branches of trees from a distance of up to thirty metres. The monkeys would also venture out into the surf and hit small fish over the head with the pineapples

The end for the monkeys came during the Second World War when the Japanese occupiers came under attack by the pineapple-wielding monkeys and fired back with live ammunition, killing most of the monkeys. Those that were killed were eaten, because their meat had a slightly sweet, delicate flavour, which came from eating pineapples as their staple diet.