Primate Socialism

Tanya’s Thoughts: Click on the above link to see video. This is a video from the blog “Whisky And Tea” that shows two monkeys being rewarded with food for doing a task for a researcher. The monkeys both know each other. At one point, they are placed in separate cages that are clear so that each monkey can see what the other is doing and what reward each is getting.

Each time a monkey gives a small rock to the researcher from its cage, it is given a cucumber as a reward. Both receive the same reward at first, but the researcher then switches things up by giving one monkey grapes, while still giving cucumbers to the other. Comedy ensues, as well as an interesting lesson in animal intelligence and the innate need for fairness.

This species of monkey, called Capuchins, like grapes more than cucumbers. So when the cucumber-rewarded monkey sees that his friend is getting grapes for the same task, he gets a temper tantrum. He throws the pieces of cucumber back at the researcher! He then bangs his little hands on the table where the cage is set and shakes the doors of the cage!

What this says to me is that monkeys are a lot more intelligent than we think, and that there may be an innate need for fairness and justice in many animals other than ourselves. Both very thought-provoking concepts.

Whisky and Tea

Because it’s the end of term:

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