Monkeys are a mixed bag. On one hand, you can dress them up in little business suits and have a good laugh. On the other hand, they started AIDS.
On the plus side, monkeys are among a select group of simians that have made the quantum leap from making poop to throwing poop. It seems obvious in hindsight, but animals have been defecating for millions of years to little or no effect. The monkey was probably the first one to sit back and really consider the potential for wrecking everyone’s day at the zoo.
So you have to applaud that for the comic value, but are monkeys actually smart?
Let us again return to the use of tools. Like dolphins and sea otters before them, monkeys use tools. This ‘feat’ was confirmed in 2004, when Cambridge researchers found capuchin monkeys in Brazil that employed rocks and sticks to help them (the monkeys, not the researchers) forage for food. The discovery sent concentric nerd waves rippling through the fields of evolutionary biology and primatology. It even made the papers. Mainly because the discovery indicated that monkeys, like their tool-using chimpanzee cousins, have a rudimentary understanding of the relationship between cause and effect.
Their tool use is strictly limited to adapting sticks or rocks to a simple task. It’s doubtful these creatures understand the concept of “tool” in any meaningful way. Ask a monkey to hand you a Phillips head screwdriver and it’s very possible it will give you a torque wrench. Or throw poop. Neither of which are much help when you’re installing recessed lighting.
Truth be told, monkeys can’t even do a job people would refer to as ‘a job even a monkey could do.’ Still, many amateur animal reviewers with little scientific training are tempted into kindness simply because they (the monkeys, not the reviewers) share 93% of their DNA with humans. This is genetic nepotism, nothing more. You don’t have to be a scientist to realize the other 7% makes a world of difference. It’s responsible for stuff like drinking your own urine in a youtube video, screeching for no apparent reason, and the lack of ability/desire to escape a little business suit that’s so clearly degrading.
Monkeys are okay. But they have 7% more evolving to do. Let’s give it another 1.5 million years and take another look.
This just in: Monkeys may have also started monkeypox. Here’s what you need to know about that:
NEW GRADE: C