Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The monkey (almost) always makes the best decision

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
"Subtly charming problem solver. Extreme tv enthusiast. Web scholar. Evil beer expert. Music nerd. Food junkie."

“Monsters of Science” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful tales told to live in all their freshness. But also in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the treasures of the world. For once, let’s take a look for the second time in a row at our favorite cousin: the monkey.

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vervet you know? It is a kind of monkey that lives in the east and South Africa. A monkey is relatively small because it weighs about five kilograms for a maximum size of 60 cm and we still have to add a tail of about 70 cm.

This monkey lives in a group. Large groups can gather up to 50 people. Males, females and youngsters. What sets her apart is that she knows how to adapt well to the presence of humans. So much so that he does not hesitate to venture into the cities. or on farms. What’s next to him sometimes deserves to be fired. However, it is not (yet) in danger.

Another peculiarity that researchers have discovered in it is the sense of planning that goes hand in hand with a fairly developed sense of direction. So if you are one of those people who have the habit of getting lost in the way of vacation, you can take Vervet as an example. In the meantime, let behavioral scientists tell us more precisely what they observed wild monkeys From central Uganda.

Decisions based on multiple information

Prepare for them a rich experience. On five platforms arranged on the vertices of a regular pentagon, the researchers deposited corn kernels Bananas are trapped in a holly box. Rest on four platforms But On the other hand, bananas. You should know that Vervet literally loves bananas. The problem for him here is that bananas are the bananas that researchers have decided to make more difficult to reach. It is hidden in a box that you have to shake or roll to get it out.

First note: The Vervets family has shown themselves to be pretty adept at figuring out how to retrieve bananas from the bottom of the box. It took the less talented people just over a minute to figure out the trick. Others did it without even having itair to think about it.

But the most surprising observation made by behavioral scientists is that these monkeys didn’t just make the choices they dictated gluttony. Before starting, they took their situation into account. Understand their rank in the group hierarchy, their ability to manipulate a box of bananas or be near a direct competitor. When the risk was deemed low, the thoughtful Vervet took a route that reduced travel costs. When the danger was deemed high or the monkey showed poor handling of the box, Vervet…rushed to the bananas. To devour them without waiting and risking their escape. When the danger was judged to be moderate, lower-ranked Vervet took time to only stop on the corn platform before joining the bananas.

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As a result, in most cases, the considered Vervet managed to fit her favorite food. Or in any case the maximum amount of the total food. It is enough to show the complexity of the decision-making process in this particular monkey, based on the synthesis of many information, environmental or social. And how fast it is! What finally proves that Vervet… isn’t that stupid!

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