Ingenious Animals: Capuchin Monkeys Have Good Taste? – Good and Bad Research

I thought the stars of the second episode of Ingenious Animals were the capuchin monkeys, who were shown practising ‘rituals of trust’, such as letting each other touch sensitive areas of their faces.

Moreover, as shown in the programme’s cover shot, the capuchins are expert greenYgreyers, as shown by this ingenious foreground fruit and background foliage great greenYgreying:


When celebrity chef presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall approached the troop (just looked that up!) of monkeys they threw tree branches at him, and weren’t at all friendly (clip available online).

Compare that to the capuchin monkey that greeted and  embraced Marc Latham (they do have great greenYgreying in common though – added after the first publishing of the post, and the only edit!):

Good and Bad Research

If I was a bad researcher, like my one-dimensional double-negatives; I just self-proclaimed geniusly thought they could be represented by a Y, which is supposed to be a positive in the greenYgrey world!

Maybe they are the anti-Ys, to be represented by an upside-down Y, like anti-Christians invert the cross; sorry to any nice Satanists, such as I think Taylor Momsen and her fans are.

Anyway, I have digressed, although rather self-proclaimed geniusly, I must admit to myself, and claim to you. The point I’m trying to make is a rather more humble one, kind to Hugh, who could be seen to represent the middle-class to my working-class.

Capuchin Monkeys are Individuals

While the evidence from Hugh and my meetings with capuchins could be claimed (by me) to show that I’m a nicer or better person, according to animal instinct, as I’m a qualified researcher I know that the findings could be criticised in many ways.

For example, they were different capuchin monkeys, and as I’ve always believed, and science is now proving, animals all have their own personalities, as humans do. I find it incredible that humanity has been able to hide that fact for so long; monotheistic dogma has been the biggest contributor to denying animals individuality.

Secondly, the conditions were different, with Hugh’s capuchins in a troop, and Hugh with a team of film-makers. So, it might not have been Hugh at all, and maybe he was just the nearest to the monkeys. Rather than a capuchin seeing a human approaching in peace, maybe the troop of monkeys saw an invading group, threatening their existence.

Ending on self-proclaimed genius note, I just thought that the end finding could be compared to immigration, with a few individuals not seen as a threat, but a wave of numbers that looks a threat will be treated negatively; especially when some of those who have shown trust have sometimes been groomed and abused, whether its nice children on the streets, or accommodating older people in their homes via doorstep, media and communications scams.

Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.

Thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the production team and BBC for showing the documentary.


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