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For The First Time Ever, Monkeys Learned To Check Out Their Asses

After being trained to recognize their own reflections, the primates used this newfound knowledge with their genitals.

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For the first time ever, experiments have shown that monkeys can recognize themselves in mirrors.

Neng Gong and colleagues/Current Biology 2015 / Via

In a new study published in Current Biology, rhesus monkeys were trained to be self-aware.

This is remarkable because most animals can't recognize their reflections, like this dog.

Mocha Corgi / Via

This is why humans are so unique: We start to become aware of our reflections when we are around two years old, according to the study. But we are not the only ones. Dolphins, some great apes, and elephants are also able to recognize themselves in mirrors, explains Discover magazine.

To test an animal's self-awareness, researchers shine a laser pointer on its body.

Neng Gong and colleagues/Current Biology 2015 / Via

If the animal touches the dot while looking in a mirror, that shows they recognize themselves. Monkeys have failed this test in the past, until researchers started using a laser that irritated their skin. If they touched the mark, they were rewarded with food. Eventually, the researchers started using nonirritant lasers. Five out of seven trained monkeys passed the test, according to the study.

When they learned self-awareness, one of the first things they did was check out their genitals and asses.

Neng Gong and colleagues/Current Biology 2015 / Via

And this is how scientists proved that they had mastered self-awareness. Unfortunately, the untrained monkeys could not recognize their own butts, according to the study.