Cute News Alert! Sleeping baby Snow Monkeys smile like humans?
There’s nothing better than an interesting scientific study that is also completely adorable! It looks like patients of Dr. Thompson at Prescott Dentistry aren’t the only ones that can have a nice smile! New findings, with evolutionary implications on the origin of the human smile, show that newborn Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) smile in their sleep similar to human babies.
Researchers from Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute in Japan have found that macaque infants engage in “spontaneous smiles”. In other words, the ends of the lips rise regardless of external stimuli during light sleep. While these spontaneous smiles have been reported in chimpanzees and humans up until around one year old, this is the first detailed observation of the behavior in Japanese macaques.
The scientists, led by Masaki Tomonaga, professor of comparative cognitive science, explained that these spontaneous smiles found in the monkey species take a shorter period of time to form compared to humans. The corners of the snow monkeys mouth almost instantly lifted to form a spontaneous smile. It is thought that this behavior in human babies is an evolutionary adaptation to attract attention of the adults and make them handle the baby more gently. However, the researchers in this study claim that the behavior in these macaques is likely to help strengthen cheek muscles, not change the attitude of their handlers. (That doesn’t make it any less cute, though!)
Speaking of babies, don’t forget for the new babies in the family, the American Dental Association and American Pediatric Association recommend the first dental visit be scheduled before their first birthday! Contact Prescott Dentistry today to schedule your little one’s appointment.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/29/2016) Daisuke tashiro (Flickr)