Monkeys’ Grooming Habits Provide New Clues To How We Socialize

monkey groom

A study of female monkeys’ grooming habits provides new clues about the way we humans socialise. New research, published September 30 in Proceedings of the Royal Society, reveals there is a link between the size of the brain, in particular the neocortex which is responsible for higher-level thinking, and the size and number of grooming clusters that monkeys belong to.

The researchers, from the University of Oxford and Roehampton University, have shown that bigger brained female monkeys invest more time grooming a smaller group of monkeys but still manage to maintain contact with other members of their group, even though they have much weaker social bonds with them. In contrast, monkeys of species with smaller neocortices, and therefore less cognitive ability, live in groups with a less complicated social structure.