photo: Wikipedia/Creative Commons
More really interesting stuff on the abilities of some of our primate relatives: A new report in Animal Cognition (via BBC News) shows that adult Barbary macaques can recognize their friends and family in photographs. When studying the monkeys one grabbed a book of photos that the scientists were using the catalogue and identify their subjects. That prompted them to wonder if the monkeys could tell each other apart from the photos. Simple tests determined that when the macaques saw a familiar face they looked away quickly, but unknown monkeys elicited a quizzical response.
"Adult animals spent more time looking at unfamiliar animals, suggesting that they recognized their group members form the pictures...the juveniles didn't show any difference - they were interested in all the pictures...We didn't think they would respond like this. We thought the pictures would not be relevant to them, [because] in their real lives, the don't have anything like this."
As for why the youngsters sometimes tried to greet the animals in the photos, the researchers only suggest that its only with age that the macaques learn about photos.
Read more: Adult but not juvenile Barbary macaques spontaneously recognize group members from pictures -- unlike a lot of these type of articles in scientific journals, this one's open access. So take a look, it details how the experiment was constructed, and goes into much greater detail about the findings.