Imitation is thought to be the sincerest form of flattery, and it appears that capuchins believe it, too.
Certainly, imitation is very much part and parcel of human life. Every day, we imitate the body postures or mannerisms of people we meet, usually without either person realizing it.
Previous studies have shown that this imitation promotes affection and empathy for the imitator in the people who are being copied, suggesting this common human behavior evolved to help us get along and thrive in social groupings.
This video of one capuchin monkey has shocked netizens across the world when it has learned to wash clothes on its own by just merely observing a human and ultimately, imitating her.
Apparently, this domestically-trained capuchin started mimicking human behaviors ever since the day it got back from its natural habitat.
You might have the best technology at the comfort of your homes to help you out with typical household chores, but it would be nowhere a match to this little bundle of talent.
In the video, you’ll see the cute little capuchin doing laundry with the utmost style. Notice the intricacies with how he ensures that he leaves no single spot of stain in the clothes.
Monkey expert, Louis Dumas, said:
“The monkey had been observing me washing the pots for a few days before he took over and began completely and perfectly imitating me. He had an unfortunate overbite which made him a particularly ugly monkey; he had very little success with the ladies.”
Researchers interpreted this kind of imitation as a sign that monkeys feel a stronger affiliation with humans. It’s also possible that imitation signals subordination so the individual being copied feels less threatened.
It’s still not clear how important imitation is to capuchins in the wild, but for the simple act of copying to bind monkey societies together, it would have to happen fairly frequently.