The ability to look into a mirror and recognize oneself is a cognitive skill we all take for granted, but very few animals outside of humans are able to do it. New research shows that monkeys can be trained to pass the so-called “mirror test,” suggesting that more species may be self-aware than previously thought.…
New research shows that macaques have a vocal tract capable of emitting human-like speech, but they lack the brain circuitry to make words happen. That may be a good thing, because their simulated speech is creepy as hell.
Humans may be more closely related to great apes, but according to science, our true spirit animals are aye-ayes. These Gollum-eyed lemurs like to skulk about in the forest getting liquored until the sun comes up. Wow, same!
The backlash has been vicious since zookeepers killed a gorilla named Harambe in order to protect a boy who fell into its enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Now, police are investigating the parents in a misguided effort to administer blame, but one thing is more clear than ever: Zoos are awful places for animals to…
In a scene eerily reminiscent of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an escaped chimpanzee sought refuge on the power lines of a Japanese suburb. The chimp was eventually subdued after a frantic two-hour police chase, but you have to wonder: Why didn’t he get zapped by the power lines? Here’s the answer.
Anthropologists in Borneo observed a rare instance of a female and a male orangutan teaming up—to kill another female orangutan. This is the first observed time a female-female conflict in orangutans has turned lethal, and the way the it went down changes what we thought we knew about orangutan behavior.
Researchers in China have genetically engineered monkeys to exhibit autistic-like behaviors, including impaired social skills and increased anxiety. This research is poised to improve our understanding of brain disorders, but ethicists say the harm endured by these monkeys is simply not worth it.
Forget studies that show that we are lazy, fried cheese-fed, cubicle dwellers. Or, at least forget the “lazy” part. Out of all the primates, humans distinguish themselves by getting the least amount of sleep.
Are you in a public place? Look around. Can you tell whether any of the women you see are ovulating, just by looking at them? Neither can anybody else. But several small studies have suggested that men nevertheless find women’s faces more attractive when they’re most fertile. No one knows what signals the men are…
Although there is no definitive account of why we lost our body hair when every other primate is covered with the stuff, there are a handful of compelling theories that may explain our hairless condition.
Turns out that African apes and humans have more in common than previously thought. Observations made in the jungles of Guinea show wild chimps sipping alcoholic tree sap from leaf sponges, followed by some characteristically drunken behaviors.
There’s a new branch on the human family tree. Anthropologists say they’ve found a new human ancestor, who lived 3.5 million years ago, right beside Australopithecus afarensis on the plains of what is now Ethiopia.
It's hard to study intelligence in humans — our cultures are incredibly complex, and what counts as "smart" is defined as much by our societies as it is by our genes. So some researchers have turned to chimpanzees to understand what actually gives rise to intelligence in the brain.
Humans have a remarkable ability to see patterns where none exist. In the hot-hand phenomenon we perceive streaks of wins or losses where the data, in truth, are random. New research shows that monkeys are subject to the same bias, which might suggest that the bias is evolutionarily adaptive, and maybe even rational.
There has been a long tradition of employing animals in military operations. The latest example might be China's troop of macaque soldiers.
As Henry Reich explains in this installment of Minute Earth, yes, monogamy does exist in the animal kingdom – though fewer creatures practice it than you probably realize.
Unlike all other primates, clawed New World Monkeys almost always give birth to twins. But why? It turns out these animals have a unique set of adaptations that make it possible — and could prove useful to humans as well.
In the mid-1600s, green monkeys from Africa were introduced to the West Indies island of Barbados. Despite living a predator-free life for centuries, the Barbados population still responds to an ancestral alarm call that means, roughly translated, “Run up a tree or a leopard will eat you!”
The “snake detection theory” holds that snakes played a significant role in the evolution of humans and other primates. They molded our brains, shaped our visual systems, and helped us survive. Now there is new evidence to back up this unusual theory, which explains both our agile minds and our uncanny ability to…