A study found that the psychology and behavior of elder monkeys and elder humans have many commonalities, indicating at least a partial genetic basis. One thing they may do better than us, though, is tolerating their youth. Although elder monks don’t really want to play with the kids, they also don’t mind having them on their lawn:
And around 20, (their “retirement age”) monkeys, like humans, had fewer social contacts and approached others less frequently. What surprised the researchers is that this apparent withdrawal wasn’t driven by a social tendency to avoid old monkeys: Younger monkeys still approached and groomed their elders. And it wasn’t that older monkeys just weren’t interested in anything: They still responded to photos of other monkeys and hissed at others during fights. “They are still very much tuned into what’s going on,” said Dr. Fisher. “But they don’t want to participate themselves.”
Dr. Freund said she sees the same behavior patterns in humans.
The dominant psychological theory to explain this in people is that we become more choosy with age in order to maximize the use of the time we have left with death in sight. While monkeys have excellent memories, there is no evidence that they are aware of their impending deaths. So if both humans and monkeys act similarly, perhaps this theory is just a way of rationalizing a natural behavior with biological roots, said Dr. Fischer.
Perhaps monkeys and humans just lose stamina with age, and maybe the monkeys are too tired to deal with relationships that are ambivalent or negative, she added.
Below, some more fauna-related links. Let’s discuss them in the comments. Also, as a reminder I will be in Davidson NC and available to meet for breakfast or coffee on Monday, July 11. Also will be in Golden, CO on Sunday evening July 24 and Monday morning (maybe) July 25. (Or look me up if you will be at the Colorado VegFest.) Please email me (not comment) if you can meet up. Would love to meet you all IRL!
Animal activists both within and outside China are starting to seriously take on the Yulin (China) Dog Meat Festival, during which 10,000+ dogs are killed in especially horrific ways because participants believe meat from a tormented dog tastes better and yields health benefits. Multiple photos have documented doomed dogs still wearing collars, indicating that they were probably someone’s cherished companion who was kidnapped.
- Spain outlaws bull slaughter in a festival, in what activists are calling a watershed. The same article reports that bullfighting is on a serious decline.
- Johns Hopkins stops using live animals for surgical training. Now only the U of Tennessee does.
- Primatology.net–whose motto, btw, is, “We ain’t monkeying around here.”–reports on a spearfishing orangutan.
- Turnabout: Fish strategize, problem-solve, use tools, recognize their friends, and have emotions.
- WSJ food columnist and elite chef give vegan “Impossible Burger” high marks.
- C’mon people! Wildlife imperiled by selfie culture.
- Gorgeous new species of deep-sea jelly discovered. (Looks like Sputnik!)
- A (cute) day in the life of Henry, an urban piggie. And, in more porcine news, the rarest pig reminds me of the “God’s gift to warthogs” Far Side cartoon.