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Studying mammals: The social climbers
Studying mammals: The social climbers

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DA opens the TV programme by stating that 'monkeys and apes have the richest social life of all mammals'. I have explored the importance of colour vision in the interactions between individuals and discussed how gestural and vocal communication add considerably to this richness. But ultimately, it is their ability to be innovative, to discover new ways of obtaining foods, to learn from one another (so-called cultural learning), to form friendships, alliances and coalitions between individuals, and to practice tactical deception that have fascinated and continue to fascinate primatologists as they strive to understand anthropoid societies and to seek out forerunners of the abilities and sociability of humans. If you get an opportunity to watch a group of monkeys, observe them closely and see if you can recognise some of the aspects of their social life that we have discussed in this course.