Amazing Intelligence in Animals—Monkeys

“Monkeys are superior to men in  this: when a monkey looks in the mirror, he sees a monkey.” —Malcolm de Chazal

Have you ever told a person that they’re acting like a Rhesus Macaques? No? Well, neither have I, but I have told people “not to act like a monkey!” A Rhesus Macaques is a type of monkey that shares with humans many of our strong tendencies and social patterns.

Many studies have shown these monkeys to be very intelligent, sharing with us humans a great deal of similar traits. In fact, according to Dario Maestripieri, an expert on primate behavior, it is this monkey’s aggressive, opportunist behavior that has allowed them to be so successful in what they undertake, very similar to humans.

These little monkeys form long lasting social bonds between female relatives and express a strong, dominant hierarchy. They can be quite ruthless in their constant seeking of social status, nepotistic, and even have complex political alliances. In fact, Maestripieri says that “tactics used by [Rhesus Macaques] to increase or maintain their power are not much different from those Machiavelli suggested political leaders used during the Renaissance.

The alpha Macaques use threats and violence to hold their position over the troop—does this sound familiar to what human “alphas” use to maintain their control over us?

“True intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination” —Albert Einstein

According to the New Scientist, quite a bit of research has been done in testing the IQ of monkeys. Although their intelligence doesn’t quite measure up to human standards, and our capabilities—at least not according to our opinion of intelligence— this certainly shows that intelligence was not suddenly created in tandem with man’s introduction on earth. The question that really intrigues me is, what, really, is intelligence, and who am I to say, “that person or species is intelligent, and that person or species is not intelligent?

Mainstream Science states that intelligence is: “A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings—”catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do.

Sounds “reasonable,” so, my next question is, which is more ‘intelligent’—more valuable to the purpose of creation: a monkey figuring out how to use a stick to dig worms out of a rotten tree stump, or an astronomer attempting to calculate the next chance of a ‘killer’ asteroid striking earth?

As Einstein would say, “It’s all relative!” 

 

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