Richard G. Petty, MD

Monkey See, Monkey Do

This is the title of a short article on mirror neurons in New Scientist.

Pier Ferrari at the University of Parma, Italy, and colleagues tested 21 newborn Macaques by holding each in front of a researcher who made various facial expressions.

The article has links to two movie clips showing the young Macaques beginning to imitate the researcher.

The study indicates that the capacity for imitation occurred earlier in the primate evolutionary tree than previously thought, and before the rhesus monkey ancestor split from the human lineage, about 25 million years ago.

Yet another apparently characteristic that was thought to be uniquely human, that was then found to be shared by young apes, and is now shown to be an even more general attribute of sentient creatures.

We have recently been doing some informal expriements with a kitten and an older cat that seem to have remarkable powers of mimicry. Not at the same level as the Macaques, but still mimicking head position and mouth opening. I cannot find any published research on mimickery in cats, but I shall ask around and report back.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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