From The New York Times:
Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth, a husband-and-wife team of biologists at the University of Pennsylvania, have spent 14 years observing the Moremi baboons. Through ingenious playback experiments performed by themselves and colleagues, the researchers say they have worked out many aspects of what baboons use their minds for, along with their limitations. Reading a baboon’s mind affords an excellent grasp of the dynamics of baboon society. But more than that, it bears on the evolution of the human mind and the nature of human existence. As Darwin jotted down in a notebook of 1838, “He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.”
Dr. Cheney and Dr. Seyfarth are well known for a 1990 book on vervet monkeys, “How Monkeys See the World,” in which they showed how much about the animals’ mental processes could be deduced from careful experiments. When a baby vervet’s call is played to three females, for instance, the mother looks to the source of the sound. The two others look to the mother, evidence that vervets know whose baby is whose.