Even monkeys understand inequality

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Even monkeys understand inequality




Brosnan, along with lead author Megan van Wolkenten and Frans B. M. de Waal, both at Emory University in Georgia, trained 13 tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) at Emory's Yerkes National Primate Research Center to play a no-fair game. In the game, each of a pair of monkeys would hand a small granite rock to a human in exchange for a reward, either a cucumber slice or the more preferable grape.

When both monkeys received cucumber rewards, all was fine in primate land. But when one monkey handed over the granite stone and landed a grape, while monkey number two got a cucumber, madness ensued.

"They would literally take the cucumber from me and then drop it on the ground or throw it on the ground, or when I offered it to them they would simply turn around and refuse to accept it," Brosnan told LiveScience.

Further experiments ruled out greed or frustration as forces driving the capuchin monkeys to react negatively to a cucumber reward.



The researchers noted one difference, however, between the human and capuchin senses of fairness: While humans regard fairness as equal treatment of themselves and others, the capuchin monkeys only care about number one.

Which goes to show that conservatives are just less evolved. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture


While humans regard fairness as equal treatment of themselves and others, the capuchin monkeys only care about number one.

Shouldn't that read, "While [i]most[/i] humans regard fairness," etc. ?

Maybe the researchers should study less evolved humans as well as monkeys. They could use conservatives, and others, as a control group [i]impervious to moral arguments or normal standards of decency.[/i]


This is interesting stuff... a number of examples of 'animal consciousness' are being uncovered as we study them more. They have such human-like traits!

The Cheeta that was being cared for when poachers killed the mother was seen to be very depressed when it's brother died later on. It is not just herd animals that are aware of extended family.

The Cheeta 'gangs of young males' have territorial aspirations, and the main reward seems to that they 'get the girls'. [they were a threat to this orphaned Cheeta]

Maybe it is human behaviors that are being seen more clearly with our observations of the animal world...


There have also been some quite compelling stories regarding pet's extrasensory perception.


Stories, yes. Compelling, no.

[img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

The best I ever heard was the one about Hans the horse that could do math. Turns out he was reading the body language of his owner, who quite innocently gave the horse the answers.

What was lost in the fru fra was how extraordinary the ordinary senses of the horse and human were.

It would be interesting to read a study by capuchin monkeys on the subject of sadistic tendancies in human researchers... [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 18 November 2007: Message edited by: Tommy_Paine ]


Doubting Thomas,

You may want to check it - if only for its prettiness.


[img]wink.gif" border="0[/img]


[url=http://www.psychicworld.net/sncat.htm]This is adorable.[/url]


She noticed this late one Sunday afternoon in November 1995 as she began to feel ill. At first Catherine just felt a little dizzy, then as the day wore on a terrible headache gripped her. The pain-killers she took seemed to have no effect and soon she was really in agony. The worse thing was the very next day Catherine had to drive across the county to her new job, just telephoning in with a headache was not going to impress her boss. She resigned herself to going and was sitting at her desk preparing the notes for the next day when Hannibal the black cat jumped up beside her. Catherine stroked the cat and whispered her troubles to him 'Come on Hannibal, help me, I do feel ill and have to go to work'. As she spoke Catherine swears his eyes began to sparkle with green fire and he gave a spooky 'Miaaoooow' that sent a shiver running down her spine. Then when she looked out of her window to the driveway she saw that it had suddenly begun to snow.

Down came the snow, deeper and deeper until all the roads both in and out of Saratoga Springs were completely blocked. Now Catherine couldn't go to work even if she wanted to.

West Coast Greeny


Originally posted by Sineed:
[b][url=http://www.psychicworld.net/sncat.htm]This is adorable.[/url] [/b]

Great, but God isn't saving me from exams. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]