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100th Monkey Syndrome (principle)

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Description: The transfer of behaviour between animals/humans
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Barryl
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« on: May 27, 2009, 16:08:54 PM »

What is the skeptical view of this phenomenon?
http://www.hundrethmonkeysyndrome.co.uk/

Barryl
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Tweefo
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 16:51:30 PM »

Looks like a 100 pieces of rubbish to me.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 17:29:36 PM »

I guess if you put 100 monkeys in front of a computer, you get that article.
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bluegray
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2009, 19:27:02 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/100th_Monkey
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AcinonyxScepticus
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« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2009, 11:07:26 AM »

I haven't read the Wikipedia article that BluegrayV linked to.  I just wanted to give an honest, unbiased opinion in the Hundredth Monkey hypothesis.

It starts with the tale of the Japanese Macaques washing their sweet potatoes in stream water to remove grit.  I have a couple of problems with this ... how large was the population, how do they know that no other monkeys in the whole world did this (unless all monkeys in the world lived in the population that they were monitoring)?  By this; how do they know Imo was the innovator?

Why is 100 significant?  Are the monkeys under such stringent monitoring 24-hours a day that they can prove that exactly 100 (not 97 or 104) monkeys had this skill by 1958?

One hundred (the concept) is an ordinary number but "100" (the digit pattern) is a human construct.  There is no special connotation to the number 100 in any other number base.  Only as a decimal base number does it "mean" something; rolling into three digits, in Octal base it is 1448 (here the "rolling into three digits" happened back at sixty-four) and in Hexadecimal it is 6416 (where there won't be three digits until the number two-hundred and fifty-six).  So what's the big deal about the number 10010?  How is there an unseen link between this number and knowledge?  Why does it only happen when rolling into three digits of an arbitrary number system?  They claim that once this number is reached then paranormal knowledge abilities are conferred on the entire population.  Where's the proof of this number's significance to knowledge beyond the (possibly) sloppy counting of people watching Macaques?

Why does the "paranormal knowledge" not cross sub-species boundaries?  Why did Vervet monkeys not get the memo?  What if a Macaque is born with some mutations that make it different looking from its brothers and sisters, how fine-grained is the boundary between individuals getting the ability and those who do not?  I'm assuming (because the Vervets are still grit eaters, although not specifically mentioned) that there must be a DNA boundary or a common descent boundary of who gets the knowledge.  How do we define that boundary?  (Perhaps I'm taking this a bit too seriously).

Finally, just a small point to address.  Macaque monkeys in Japan are well known for their long history of "spa days".  In the freezing snowy winters, Macaque troops descend on an area in Japan famous for its hot springs.  Here the monkeys can spend nearly the entire day lounging in the hot water.  They have been known to do this for centuries from tales in Japanese history.  They will do all the things that they do every day while in the water, yes, they will urinate, copulate and (surprise, surprise) eat food that they brought with them while in the water.  Macaques may have been accidentally dropping gritty food into the spring water for centuries before Imo and it may have been learned by young monkeys watching clumsy parents and siblings for a long time.  It may be such a habit that it continues during the summer months in the higher altitudes of their normal territory where it wasn't noticed by researchers.  This is possible, I'm not saying that it definitely happened this way. 

The Hundredth Monkey hypothesis does not exclude any of these possibilities.

Now let's wiki and see where I'm wrong ...

James
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AcinonyxScepticus
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« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2009, 11:34:37 AM »

Macaques may have been accidentally dropping gritty food into the spring water for centuries before Imo and it may have been learned by young monkeys watching clumsy parents and siblings for a long time.
Possible but unlikely.  According to Wikipedia, the moneys had no access to sweet potatoes before humans introduced them and I expect that winter foods would not have an edible exterior (like sweet potatoes) but would rather be hardy (like nuts) and in need of cracking-open or (it may be shocking to vegans) alive and not in need of a wash.

James
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Barryl
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2009, 17:38:35 PM »

Thanks blue gray V,

Your reference to wikipedia answered a lot of my questions. Thank you. A part of the learned behaviour maybe or is true and then it is extrapolated by means of some people's minds (New Age) with resultant fairyland concepts.I think one should always keep the fact in mind that "the cheese in the mousetrap is always free".

Barryl
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Mefiante
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2009, 22:42:47 PM »

The definitive history and analysis of this recurrent story.  A précis is given in the book How to Think about Weird Things by Theodore Schick, Jr. and Lewis Vaughn, a book that is well worth reading.

'Luthon64
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