SCIENCE

Monkeys Cut Friends Off As They Age — What Other Species Does That Remind You Of?

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jun, 27, 2016, 06:36 PM
Tags : Monkeys, Humans
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Macaques
(Photo : Getty Images/Koichi Kamoshida) A team of Chinese neuroscientists studied the behavior of macaques to see if monkeys experience depression the way humans do.

Humans aren't the only ones that cut off friends as they age. A new research proves that Monkeys do the same thing.

Published in Current Biology, researchers detailed their study of the social behaviors of more than 100 Barbary macaque monkeys living in a 50-acre park in southern France. The monkeys varied in ages from four to 29. In monkey years, 29 is equal to 105 human years.

The researchers kept track of the monkeys' interactions with toys, food, and how they made friends or fought.

According to the study, the younger monkeys showed more interest in toys, and as they sexually matured, that interest dropped. The older monkeys were shown barely engaging in social contact. This is similar to older folks dedicating their time to smaller social circles. Also, the study noted that the monkeys also became grumpier with age.

The most prevailing theory regarding this behavior in humans is that as we grow older, we become pickier about how we spend our limited time alive. The question is if monkeys have the same awareness of death as humans do.

"Our behaviors that seem very much the result of our deliberation and choice might be more similar to our primate ancestors than we might think," said Alexandra Freund, a developmental psychologist at the University of Zurich who worked on the study, to the Times. "This clearly tells us that we, as humans, are not unique in the way we age socially but that there might be an evolutionary 'deep' root in this pattern."

Julia Fischer, who studies primate cognition at the German Primate Center in Göttingen, Germany, noted that it's also possible that both humans and monkeys grow too tired to socialize as they age. Also, with age, both might also become more risk adverse, which would explain social withdrawal.

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