For those who enjoy news about the relationship between monkeys and flying squirrels, and also good uses of the words ‘might’, ‘possible’, ‘insights’ and ‘important’ in the field of evolutionary psychology, this story will be most welcome. (My emboldening.)
Researchers have observed small monkeys called Japanese macaques going bananas at the sight of a flying squirrel...This riled-up response is probably just a false alarm, with the monkeys mistaking the squirrel for a predatory bird. On the other hand, male macaques – some of whom give chase and even attack a harmless rodent – might be trying to impress females in their troop.
Although this tough-guy motive was not proved in a new study, "it is possible that adult or sub-adult male monkeys may be 'showing off' their fitness" as potential mates, said Kenji Onishi, an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Osaka University and lead author of the paper being published in the current issue of the journal Primate Research.
Biologists and psychologists have long studied macaques' complex social interactions for insights into human evolution and behavior.
However, much remains unknown about how macaques get along (or not) with other creatures. Better documentation of such encounters could reveal more about macaque societies as well as that of our shared primate forebears.
"Human evolution occurred alongside primate evolution from a common mammalian ancestor," Onishi told LiveScience. "Therefore, it is important to learn the evolution of primates in understanding the previous steps in human evolution."
Dabbled by Dave Lull