Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Planet Earth

Mirror, Mirror: Study Says Monkeys May Recognize Their Own Images

80beatsBy Andrew MosemanOctober 1, 2010 6:47 PM
MonkeyRecognition.png

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

Luis Populin never meant to study whether monkeys recognize themselves in the mirror. As DISCOVER blogger Carl Zimmer notes at the Loom, Populin's team was working on a different project that required putting mirrors in monkey cages to stimulate their brains. Quite by accident, he noticed that monkeys with electrodes attached by the researchers spent an awful long time gawking at themselves in the mirrors. The researchers published their findings this week in PLoS One, in which they write:

We hypothesize that the head implant, a most salient mark, prompted the monkeys to overcome gaze aversion inhibition or lack of interest in order to look and examine themselves in front of the mirror. The results of this study demonstrate that rhesus monkeys do recognize themselves in the mirror and, therefore, have some form of self-awareness.

For a video of a monkey checking itself out in the mirror, as well as much more detail about the study, its implications, and other primatologists' doubts about it, check out Zimmer's post

. Related Content: 80beats: Crazy-Looking Redbearded Monkey Turned Up in Colombia (PHOTOS)

80beats: Fossil May Reveal When Humanity’s Ape Ancestors Split from Monkeys

80beats: Monkey Schoolmarms: Vervet Monkeys Learn Better From Female Teachers

80beats: New Caledonian Crows—the Bird Geniuses—Blow Our Minds Again

Image: Populin et. al.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In