11 February 2011
Posted in NatureWorks
According to National Geographic a group of 23 Mandrill Monkeys at the Colcester Zoo in England have been displaying a learned habit that could prove that monkeys have culture, too! For the last ten years this population of mandrills, regardless of sex and age, have been covering their eyes for up to 30 minutes or more at a time. Scientist cannot be positive but after observation they believe that when the monkeys cover their eyes it is a, “Do Not Disturb,” sign to the other members in the group.
It began with one individual, spread to the others, and has now been passed through one generation of the monkeys. Mark Laidre, an integrative biologist at the University of California, Berkley, has studied this population, 19 other mandrill communities around the world, as well as contacted other long term primate observers, and those studied at the Colcester Zoo are the sole exhibitors of this characteristic. Since the eye covering has been passed through a generation it can be seen as a learned cultural component to this particular group of monkeys!