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Vervet Monkeys Teach Us About Social Learning

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Recent research on monkeys that have the capacity to socially learn from each other is an interesting concept in behavioral emulation that helps to define how societies operate. Like humans, it would appear that these monkeys learn to adapt to social cues in order to both learn and socially connect with their tribal members.  The study published in the journal Science helps show how monkeys taught to eat particular colors of corn changed their preferences when socializing with monkeys taught to prefer a different color. A Vervet Monkey that moved from one group to another watched the other monkeys to determine what food choices they should make.  Erica van de Waal, a research leader from the University of Saint Andrews, indicated that baby monkeys only ate what their mothers ate and ignored other colors. Dominant males almost never tried other non-preferred colors and when entering groups with non dominant males continued to eat their learned color. Only less dominant monkeys