evolution


Watch your backsides, because chimps are too. They can identify a face by recognizing the rump! From New Scientist:

Chimps can match up the faces of group members with photos of their behinds. The ability, researchers say, shows that chimps carry around mental representations with “whole body” detail of chimps they have encountered.

Nice Graphic, eh?
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Seems we can learn quite a bit about ourselves and our workplace by looking at chimps in the wild. By knowing how they work, we can defend ourselves from the uprising! From The Australian:

IF you occasionally walk into the office thinking “this place is run by chimpanzees”, you may well be right.

Humans do share traits with chimpanzees and, according to chimp scholar Jane Goodall, there is much the monkey can teach the modern chief executive about his staff.

For example — see if this doesn’t ring a bell — in a typical chimp group, there will be an alpha male who is the most powerful. As the alpha male becomes more powerful, he brings his supporters through the ranks with him.

When an alpha male is displaced, it causes changes in the whole group. A displaced alpha male can quickly slide in the ranking, and almost overnight can become one of the lowest-ranked chimps.

A male that is seeking to become the next alpha male will, as much as possible, keep out of the alpha male’s way and be respectful to his face. (more…)

All that monkey chatter might be adding up to something. But is it good that we know what they are saying or bad that they can communicate better than we originally thought? From Science Daily:

What happens when linguistic tools used to analyze human language are applied to a conversation between a language-competent bonobo and a human? The findings, published this month in the Journal of Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, indicate that bonobos may exhibit larger linguistic competency in ordinary conversation than in controlled experimental settings.

The peer-reviewed paper was written by Janni Pedersen, an Iowa State University Ph.D. candidate from Denmark whose interests in the language-competent bonobos at Great Ape Trust of Iowa led her to the United States, and William M. Fields, director of bonobo research at Great Ape Trust.

Their findings run counter to the view among some linguists, including the influential Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who argue that only humans possess and use language. In his hierarchy of language, Chomsky believes that language is part of the genetic makeup of humans and did not descend from a single primitive language evolved from the lower primate order, and it must include formal structures such as grammar and syntax.


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Somehow, Punkeys have managed to generate a lot of pro-ape PR from the science community. These evil simians are manipulating the system to gain our trust. And as soon as they do…WATCH OUT!

From The Telegraph:

Animals can be altruistic, according to a study that has found monkeys enjoy giving.

The researchers discovered that capuchin monkeys – like humans – find generosity a satisfying experience. They offered the monkeys a choice of selfishly rewarding themselves with food, or giving some to another capuchin as well.

When paired with a monkey they knew, the capuchins were more likely to choose the “pro-social” sharing option, but were more selfish when paired with a stranger.

The researchers believe the pleasure of seeing a fellow creature happy is behind the drive for sharing, which is common to primate species.

Frans de Waal of the Yerkes National Primate Research Centre at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, said: “The fact the capuchins predominantly selected the pro-social option must mean seeing another monkey receive food is satisfying or rewarding for them.

“We believe pro-social behavior is empathy-based. Empathy increases in both humans and animals with social closeness, and in our study, closer partners made more pro-social choices. They seem to care for the welfare of those they know.”

It follows a recent study that showed increased activity in reward centers of the brain after humans gave to charity. (more…)

Punkeys are always looking for credibility. They usually convince myopic scientist into suggesting everything started with monkeys. Even our victory dances. From The Los Angeles Times:

Chimps do it. Gorillas do it. Michael Phelps does it too.


The exuberant dance of victory — arms thrust toward the sky and chest puffed out at a defeated opponent — turns out to be an instinctive trait of all primates — humans included, according to research released Monday.

Scientists from the University of British Columbia and San Francisco State University looked at thousands of photographs of judo matches taken during the 2004 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Athens, for such classic in-your-face victory moves as clenched fists, thrown-back heads and outstretched arms.

The images of the 140 blind and sighted athletes from 37 countries revealed that Paralympic athletes blind from birth struck the same triumphant stance as sighted Olympic athletes. Since the blind athletes could not have learned the victory dance by watching others, the scientists concluded that the behavior was innate. (more…)

Another so-called “human” ability gone by the wayside. Seems the Punkeys get smarter every day. From New Scientist:

At this rate a monkey might prove the Riemann hypothesis. Rhesus macaques have been shown to possess yet another numerical talent once thought unique to humans – they can simultaneously count audible beeps and dots on a computer screen.

Their ability to comprehend numbers not as just discrete images or sounds, but as abstract representations that can be combined suggests that such math skills aren’t unique to humans, says Kerry Jordan, a psychologist at Utah State University, Logan, US, who led the new study.

This sort of evidence “shows that [animals] have these precursors to math very early on in the evolutionary line and early on in development,” she says.

I think many of these monkeys were involved with mortgages. I bet one runs FannieMae or FannieMac. In fact, I beleive Enron hired a bunch in their Accounting Dept.

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We’ve been warning about the monkey menace for awhile here, but now we have some scientific evidence that Punkeys are plotting against us. Or at least evidence that they plot. From Yahoo!:

Chimps and orangutans plan for the future just like us.

They are capable of exercising self-control to postpone gratification and to imagine future events via “mental time travel,” according to new research from Lunds University Cognitive Science in Sweden.

Holy crap! Time travel?? They are even more dangerous than we think!

The skill of future planning was commonly thought to be exclusive to humans, although some studies of apes and crows have challenged this idea, say researchers Mathias and Helena Osvath. Now, for the first time, there is “conclusive evidence of advanced planning capacities in non-human species,” they say.

He's plotting away right now!!

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