Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged
from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.
But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing
human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes
, a new study
by Dr. Gerianne Alexander
finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots.
What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia
. Previously on MetaFilter: Pinker vs. Spelke, Gender and Brain morphology, Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck".
posted by orthogonality
on Dec 8, 2005 -