Front page‎ > ‎Science‎ > ‎

Monkey learns more from females

Monkeys pay more attention to females than to males, according to research.

Scientists studying wild vervet monkeys in South Africa found that the animals were better able to learn a task when it was demonstrated by a female. The team compared animals' responses to demonstrations of a simple box-opening task, which was demonstrated either by a dominant male or female monkey.

They gave the monkeys boxes containing fruit, which had doors on each differently coloured end. During an initial demonstration, the researchers blocked one of the doors, so there was only one correct way to solve the box-opening puzzle and access the fruit reward.

For three of the groups, a dominant male monkey was selected as a "model" to demonstrate the task and for the other three a dominant female was chosen. Research showed that, that bystanders paid significantly more attention to female than male models. 

Contributed by: Our Special Correspondent 
City: Oxford
Country: England
Date: March 24, 2010