Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monkeys Can Recognize Themselves In Mirrors


Monkeys may possess cognitive abilities once thought unique to humans, raising questions about the nature of animal awareness and our ability to measure it.

In the lab of University of Wisconsin neuroscientist Luis Populin, five rhesus macaques seem to recognize their own reflections in a mirror. Monkeys weren’t supposed to do this.

“We thought these subjects didn’t have this ability. The indications are that if you fail the mark test, you’re not self-aware. This opens up a whole field of possibilities,” Populin said.

Populin doesn’t usually study monkey self-awareness. The macaques described in this study, published Sept. 29 in Public Library of Science One, were originally part of his work on attention deficit disorder. But during that experiment, study co-author Abigail Rajala noticed the monkeys using mirrors to study themselves.


Full story here.
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