Photo in the News: Monkeys Not Fooled by Mirror

Picture: A monkey sees its reflection in a mirror but does not think it is another animal.
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July 19, 2005—Touching a mirror, a capuchin monkey sees himself but doesn't quite see himself, according to a study reported in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Whereas gorillas, chimpanzees, and other apes recognize themselves in mirrors, monkeys do not, researchers found. But unlike most animals, the 14 monkeys in the test did not mistake their reflections for living creatures, putting the monkeys' level of self-awareness somewhere between that of dogs and orangutans.

Researchers showed male and female capuchins both a mirror and real, though unfamiliar, capuchins. Both sexes treated their reflections differently than they did the living monkeys. Females, for example, made much more eye contact with their doubles than with strangers.

—Ted Chamberlain

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