Female monkeys are reluctant to follow the example of males even when they would obviously benefit from doing so, new research has found.
A study by st Andrew’s university established that even when males demonstrate superior methods of obtaining food, females would rather mimic each other’s techniques because of an innate distrust of the opposite sex.
The behavior, which the researches said, echoes some human traits,
rooted n the tendency of male vervet monkeys to roam between groups.
This leads females to believe, that males have poor local knowledge. they move around so much.
By contrast , male monkeys are happy to learn from whichever sex appears to be the more effective in a given situation, the study found.
” The explanation for the sex difference may be that females the important thing is to maintain close bonds with the other females they spend their whole lives with in the same group.
They may be less inclined to copy males, who are likely to have less reliable local knowledge.”
The experiment, published in the journal current Biology, involved an ” artificial fruit ” box that could be opened at either it’s black end or its white end, to extract a piece of apple.
If the dominant female approached, the researches could use a remote control. They ensure that she learned. she could get the apple only from one coloured end.
In the same way, the highest ranking males trained to the other end.
However, the researchers arranged it so these males now got five times more food than did the females.
The researches wanted to know whether the others in the group would follow their habitual preference to copy the females.. or would they now more flexible, and swayed by the greater success of the males.
The team found that males showed a significant tendency to copy the successful males rather than the usual preference to copy females.
But females in the group stuck to copying the female demonstrator, despte her relatively lower success.