Re: Speciation - how do you know?

Phillip Bigelow (
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 18:35:02 -0700

Rohinton Collins wrote:
> Phillip Bigelow <> wrote in article <>...
> > Any wild primate (lemurs on up) can learn to wash their food if an
> > exposed water supply is available. Just like raccoons (and raccoons
> > have a proportionally smaller brain than do most primates!). The
> > "semi-wild" primates of Japan (and other parts of S.E. Asia)
> > habitually throw dirty rice into the surf to clean and sort
> > the rice. (And these primates aren't even as smart as great apes!).
> Are you sure Phillip? I can only recall the Rhesus monkey of Japan
> described re. this behaviour. And interestingly this was not common sense
> or instinctive to them generally. One monkey (I forget her name) worked out
> the process of cleaning rice, probably by accident, and the rest copied
> her. This procedure soon spread and became part of their monkey culture.

I agree, it was the rhesis species I was referring to. And the
monkeys were taught this behavior by one monkey. And the food
supply was indeed "artificial". But....given all of these "ifs",
these primates *do* in fact clean and sort their food by putting
it in water.
Lemurs have been taught this ability too. Unfortunatly, it was
in a laboratory setting, and equally unfortunately, I don't have the
research paper to cite.
As far as whether "common sense" or "instinct" factors into the
development of an adopted trait, well, I think it is a moot point.
I doubt that much acquired behavior in animals was originally
acquired through the application of common sense. And, of course,
"instinctual" behavior has to be imprinted in the genome. In order
to be imprinted genetically, the behavior has to have a "first"
individual who posseses that trait.