Re: virus: Tim regains his mount

Paul Prestopnik (
Mon, 20 Oct 1997 14:12:01 -0400

> Why has no-one come forward with a real experiment the world would call
> an experiment in memetics?

I have been meaning to mention this for the last couple of days, but wanted
to make sure I quoted correctly, so I have waited until I could find my

I am quoting from _Dark Nature_ by Lyall Watson. (which is an excellent
book; it discusses the evolution of evil from a genetic standpoint, and it
discusses meme's in the last chapter.)

Animals too get new ideas. Japanese scientist in the 1950's caught a young
female macaue in the act of creating a cultural revolution which, in monkey
terms, is equivalent to the invention of the wheel. She took dirty food to
pools of sea water to clean an flavor it before eating, and as the human
observers watched, thsi attractive idea took root and spread, slowly at
first but with gathering momentum, through the entire island colony.
SOmething similar has been observed in Kenya were a vervet monkey, again a
female, seems to have invented a new way of collectin nutritious sap by
using a dry pod from an acacia tree as an absorbant tool."

his reference is a paper :
"Hauser, M.D., "Invention and social transmission...," in Byrne and

which is
Byrne, R. & Whiten, A., "Tactical Deception...," Animal Behaviour,

Maybe experiments such as these could be set up to study the travel of
memes. Introduce various memes into a group and see how they travel.
Granted with non-humans it will be difficult to map things like evangelism,
but this could be a start.

what do you think?

p.s. The rest of the book is very good. It consists in a large part of
case studies of animal and human behaviour.

-paul prestopnik