CAPUCHINS CAN APPRECIATE THE PURCHASING POWER OF TOKENS SUCH AS POKER CHIPS
Vetscite, June 23, 2008
An experiment, led by Elsa Addessi at the CNR, the Italian National Research Council, in Rome, Italy, shows that capuchins, like us, can understand the symbolic value of an otherwise mundane object. The monkeys grasp this 'money' concept despite the fact that their lineage diverged from that of humans about 35 million years ago. "It's quite surprising to find such an ability in a monkey species that is so [evolutionarily] distant from humans," says Addessi. Previous studies have focused on similar skills in great apes such as chimpanzees. But this is among the first to assess symbolic reasoning in a species so distantly related to ourselves.