According to new research:
When it comes to figuring out which individual among a group of primates is the most dominant, some scientists simply look for the one that’s being the most assertive or aggressive. New research suggests this approach grossly underestimates the social complexity of nonhuman primates, and that there’s more to social dominance than being a bully.
The social relationships of nonhuman primates, and the ways in which social dominance is achieved, maintained, and perceived, are more complex than scientists have traditionally assumed, according to new research published this week in Scientific Reports. The research also shows that existing techniques for observing and measuring dominance among nonhuman primates, whether they be monkeys or apes, are insufficient and lacking in sophistication. The authors of the new study, a team led by anthropologist Jake Funkhouser from Washington University in St. Louis, say new observational and analytical tools are needed to better understand “the layers of diverse social relationships we see in the animal kingdom, our own human societies included.” George Dvorsky, “Primate Relationships Are Messier Than We Thought, New Research Suggests” at Gizmodo
Doubtless true, but then social relationships of most animals, including dogs, cats, and horses, are probably more complex than formerly thought. Simple-minded theories tend to exaggerate the measure favored by the theory at the expense of all the others.
See also: Making intelligent machines persons hits a few snags (Dvorsky relevance.)
Experts slam EU proposal to grant personhood to intelligent machines (Dvorsky relevance.)
Astonishing conclusion: Chimpanzees can’t speak because they don’t have the mental status