How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World
Dario Maestripieri thinks it is high time we shelve that misperception, and with Macachiavellian Intelligence he gives rhesus macaques their rightful turn in the spotlight. The product of more than twenty years studying these fascinating creatures, Macachiavellian Intelligence caricatures a society that is as much human as monkey, with hierarchies and power struggles that would impress Machiavelli himself. High-status macaques, for instance, maintain their rank through deft uses of violence and manipulation, while altruism is almost unknown and relationships are perpetually subject to the cruel laws of the market. Throughout this eye-opening account, Maestripieri weds his thorough knowledge of macaque behavior to his abiding fascination with human society and motivations. The result is a book unlike any other, one that draws on economics as much as evolutionary biology, politics as much as primatology.
Rife with unexpected connections and peppered with fascinating anecdotes, Macachiavellian Intelligence has as much to teach us about humans as it does about macaques, presenting a wry, rational, and wholly surprising view of our humanity as seen through the monkey in the mirror.
“Last year, a U.S. senator doomed his chances of reelection when he referred to a protestor as a 'macaca,' a slur sometimes used for dark-skinned people. But ‘macaca’ is also a name for the rhesus macaque monkey, and Maestripieri writes, ‘If politicians knew more about the Machiavellian intelligence of rhesus macaques, they would probably call one another “macaca” all the time, but mean it as a compliment.’ Maestripieri goes on to describe the social lives and competitive society of macaques, who aren't above using violence and manipulation to get ahead and stay there.”