Like humans, monkeys too are adept in the art of deceiving

June 19th, 2009 - 2:50 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 19 (ANI): Intentional deceit is not just restricted to humans, monkeys too can con others in order to get food, says a new study.

According to Federica Amici and colleagues of Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, some monkeys use simple forms of deceit.

To reach the conclusion, researchers put up to 10 monkeys from different primate species through the same experiment, reports New Scientist.

Spider monkeys, brown capuchins and long-tailed macaques were shown how to access food that was out of reach. Then, they were caged with a socially higher-ranking monkey from the same species.

Dominant monkeys in all three species would normally have priority over food, but in this case they did not know how to get to it.

When their dominant partner was not around subordinate monkeys of all species went straight for the food. But as soon as the dominant monkey was introduced, they held back.

The best deceivers turned out to be the macaques, which have a very strict social structure.

“The point [of deceit] is to withhold information in a constructive way, to eventually get the food yourself,” says Filippo Aureli also of John Moores University.

“The subordinate long-tailed macaques almost never got the food,” says Aureli.

In case of spider monkeys, the strategy worked. Subordinates waited until the dominant monkey was on the other side of the cage before going for the food and ultimately ate more than the subordinates of two other species.

Aureli and Amici believe this is because spider monkey social structure is both tolerant and fluid.

The study has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)

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