Steve mentioned this on the most recent podcast, so I had to check it out. Researchers have recently determined that monkeys practice imitation “with a purpose.” I originally thought this was no big deal, but apparently it hasn’t been shown conclusively before that monkeys (as opposed to apes) practice this as a form of social learning.
So, this story has immediately captured my attention due to the subject matter. There are two additional points that make this far and away one of the greatest news stories of the year: first, the monkeys in question are newborn (NEWBORN) monkeys. We’re talking three-day old monkeys, here. Second, the researchers captured video evidence of the tests, and then made the videos public on the Internet.
Oh wait! I remembered a third point that makes this awesome: the researcher sticking out his tongue in the first video linked. Now, I can’t tell for sure because I only see a pierced ear and a tongue, really, but . . . rowr.