Monkeys, Meteorology and Cognition

In Scientific American:

Gray-cheeked mangabey monkeys rely on recent trends in temperature and solar radiation to forage for figs and insect larvae, report Karline Janmaat and her colleagues of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. The results support a lesser-studied notion that primate cognition evolved to solve problems rooted in ecology–such as foraging–instead of the more favored viewpoint, that cognition evolved as a way to cope within a complex society…

[Researchers] found that if the weather had been warm and sunny–as opposed to cool and cloudy–for a period of about five days, the monkeys were more likely to revisit a fruiting tree. “During the rainy season, the fruit takes really long to ripen–up to two months before they are finally ripe,” Janmaat says. “In some periods when it’s sunny, it can be in one week. There are big variations. Maybe it’s worthwhile for the monkeys to know that.”