CHICAGO, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- A U.S. biologist said he believes rhesus macaque monkeys might owe their survival to the Machiavellian intelligence they share with humans.
University of Chicago Associate Professor Dario Maestripieri studied rhesus macaque monkeys for more than 20 years and has published the results of his work in a new book, "Macachiavellian Intelligence: How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World."
"Rhesus macaques are one of the most successful primate species," he said. "What rhesus macaques and humans may have in common is that many of their psychological and behavioral dispositions have been shaped by intense competition between individuals and groups during the evolutionary history of these species."
Maestripieri said both humans and rhesus macaques live in complex societies with elaborate dominance hierarchies and constant competition for social status, power, sex, the best food and the safest places to live.
The researcher also said he believes the pressure to find Machiavellian solutions to social problems might have also led to the evolution of larger human brains.
"Our Machiavellian intelligence is not something we can be proud of but it may be the secret of our success," he said.
His new book is published by the University of Chicago Press.