9 Ways Primates Act like Humans

23 Nov 2016 07:59 35
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From an orangutan playing X-BOX games, to monkeys taking artistic photos, these are 9 Ways Primates act like Humans !

Primates are known to exhibit human-like traits … and that seems to extend to playing video games as well! Because orangutans at the Melbourne (Mel-bun) Zoo became easily bored, researchers there have developed a way for the animals to engage in collaborative play with zookeepers. They’re using the Xbox One’s Kinect 3D sensor to project a digital display onto the floor of the orangutan enclosure. But it’s not for playing Halo or Grand Theft Auto. The game consists of a red dot that explodes into a variety of shapes and colors when the orangutan touches it … and that creates a wide range of reaction from the animals every time they see it. In the future, experts foresee computer games that are specifically designed for orangutans!

A chimpanzee at a zoo in the Netherlands seemed to make a statement about her privacy. A local TV station was using a drone to capture high-angle video of the animal’s enclosure for a TV program. The drone flew around the zoo until arriving in the chimp’s area. The primates took note of the craft and quickly grabbed long sticks to defend themselves. One chimp, a female, was situated high up in a tree with her own stick … and was apparently dozing in the morning sun, as the drone hovered closer. Like a flash, the chimp struck the craft with its long stick, scoring a direct hit.

In 2015, a gorilla in the wild was seen using tools … the first time such an event was recorded. Researchers were observing groups of mountain gorillas at the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. When a male silverback was unable to collect driver ants by sticking his hand down a hole in the ground, a juvenile female named Lisanga formulated a solution. First, she observed the ants around the hole for a few minutes. After an attempt to insert her hand into the hole resulted in painful ant bites, she selected a piece of wood. It was thought to be a tree branch around 20 centimeters long. She inserted the stick into the hole and out again, licking the ants off the stick. Previously, this tool-making behavior had only been observed in chimpanzees.

Are you one of those people who pinches or squeezes fruits before deciding which ones to buy? It might be a primate thing … because Chimpanzees do likewise! Researchers found that chimps use their hands to inspect fruit before deciding whether or not to eat it. Experts think it might help us to better understand why humans first started using tools … Humans are better at using their hands than any other animal … which is one reason why our ancestors began to use tools. Because primates subsist on figs, scientists watched chimps climb trees to make sensory assessments as to whether or not the fruit was ripe.

Did you know that monkeys in the wild love watching ‘how-to’ videos? A study was undertaken in the jungles of Brazil to examine how monkeys learn from one another in the wild. Marmosets were chosen as test subjects because they’re native to Brazil, and are very curious and social creatures. Screens were set up in protective enclosures in the jungle … A video of a common marmoset taking a banana slice from a plastic device was shown on a loop … the animal opened the box by pulling open the drawer or by lifting the lid. A similar plastic container filled with treats was also placed at the enclosure. Researchers observed twelve groups of marmosets, 108 in all. 11 marmosets could open the box after seeing the ‘how-to’ video. One could open the box after seeing a still image of the procedure. While monkeys have been trained in captivity by using such videos, this was the first time they were used to train creatures in the wild!

Have you ever heard of ‘Sarumawashi’? And sorry if I got that wrong. It’s a Japanese word that translates as ‘dancing monkeys’ … and is a tradition that’s around 1,000 years old. Macaque (ma-kak) monkeys are clothed and highly trained to perform tricks, dances, and acrobatics. The practice is based on an ancient belief that the primates serves as protection from disease for the horses of samurai warriors. In the photographs by Hiroshi Watanabe, you can see how human-like the primates appear … whether brandishing swords …. Gazing into the distance, deep in thought … appearing to count on their fingers … or wearing a bamboo sieve along with a fiercely intimidating look. This practice became nearly extinct the 1970s, but has recently been revived. What do you think about this tradition?

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