News Column

Monkeys Use Social Networks

June 28, 2013

Squirrel monkeys discovered the power of social networking long before Facebook and Twitter, Scottish academics have found.

Scientists at St Andrews University identified "trendster" monkeys with the strongest social networks who were quickest to catch on to new foraging crazes.

The researchers presented the monkeys with artificial "fruits" that could be opened in one of two different ways.

A pair of alpha males from two monkey populations were each trained in a different method and then allowed to spread the word among their group mates.

Monkeys with stronger social network connections within the groups picked up the new techniques more successfully, the scientists found.

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Source: Copyright Herald, The (Scotland) 2013.

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