Walking monkey business in Israel
Published: 23 August 2004 (GMT+10)
A black macaque monkey in a zoo near Tel Aviv has caused headlines such as ‘The Missing Link?’ because she now walks exclusively upright.
As usual, however, the facts are rather less exciting for evolutionists on closer examination.
Monkeys of this type spend most of their time moving in the way they were designed to do—namely walking on all fours. They will only occasionally walk upright for short periods. That is the way their brains are ‘wired’, and it suits the way their anatomy is constructed.
So why does 5-year-old Natasha the macaque now walk upright, as if ‘aping’ humans?1 The answer is really quite simple. Her change in behaviour is almost certainly the result of brain damage. Natasha slipped into a critical condition following a viral infection, a time of intensive care during which she ‘could hardly breathe and her heart was not functioning properly’. Lowered oxygenation to the brain would likely have knocked off some of the brain cells. It would appear that the pathways controlling usual walking behaviour have been destroyed, so that the only way she ‘knows’ how to walk is the ‘unusual’ way.
Nothing new has been added to this monkey’s repertoire of behaviour; macaques have always been able to do this, just as humans can on occasions get around on all fours. And of course it has nothing to do with any evolutionary ‘advance’. An analogy would be a brain-damaged human who had lost the ability to walk upright, and could subsequently only crawl around on all fours.
This all seems so obvious, why bother even mentioning it? The reason is that we are all subject to continual, often unintentional/incidental brainwashing because of the way our culture ‘assumes’ the truth of evolution. So headlines about missing links (even if halfway tongue-in-cheek) and even a mention about ‘walking apes’ tends to subtly reinforce the ape-to-human evolution myth.
- CNN.com world news, 22 July 2004.