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Monkey in the mirror

In examining their own reflections, simians show hints of self-awareness

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5:22pm, September 29, 2010

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Rhesus monkeys typically don’t check themselves out in a mirror — unless they’re wearing funky acrylic forehead blocks attached to hair-thin electrodes implanted in their brains.

Given that fashion-forward apparel, these monkeys avidly use mirrors to examine and groom their heads and to inspect hard-to-see body areas, say neuroscientist Luis Populin of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and his colleagues.

Animals with head implants sometimes turned themselves upside down or adjusted mirrors to get a better view of out-of-the-way body parts, the scientists report in a paper publishe

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