October 17, 2013

Marmoset monkeys chat with one another

I found this in today's science news:
Humans aren't the only species that knows how to carry on polite conversation. Marmoset monkeys, too, will engage one another for up to 30 minutes at a time in vocal turn-taking, according to evidence reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on October 17.
More from the article:
To find out, they placed marmosets in opposite corners of a room in which they could hear but not see each other and recorded the exchanges that ensued. They found that marmosets don't call at the same time, but rather wait for about 5 seconds after one is finished calling to respond. In other words, they follow a set of unspoken rules of conversational etiquette.
Doesn't surprise me at all. We are all animals who evolved from a common ancestor. It makes sense that we'd share capabilities with some of our brethren.

I do wonder what these marmosets say to each other. If only we could become other animals for a short time, to learn what their lives are really like. (Shades of Merlin and the young King Arthur!)

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