Japanese Macaques are quite interesting & have become the subjects of much scientific research. It seems that they invent new behaviors and then pass them down through generations by imitation. For example, young snow monkeys have learned how to make snow balls – which serve no survival purpose – to throw at each other and have some FuN!
Another brilliant example of snow monkey ingenuity is described as follows:
“Potato washing by a troop in Koshima was first started by a one and a half year old female named Imo. Researchers would put sweet potatoes along the beach to bring the monkeys out in the open. Imo found that she could get the sand off the potato better by dipping it into the river water, rather than brushing it off with her hands, like the other monkeys were doing. Her brothers and sisters imitated her first and then their mother. Over time the entire troop took to washing sand off potatoes with river water. At first they simply washed the sand off, but Imo soon found that the potatoes tasted better if seasoned with salt water from the ocean. They began to bite into the potato then dip it into the sea water to season it and bite again.”
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