Leading article: Wise monkeys

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The Independent Online

There is more to monkey business than meets the eye. New research into Campbell's monkeys in the Ivory Coast's Tai National Park suggest that not only do these animals communicate through sound, but that they even use suffixes to alter the meaning of their cries.

So "hok" means "watch out for the crowned eagle". But "hok-oo" apparently means "danger in the canopy". Professor Klaus Zuberbühler of St Andrews University claims this gives us a new insight into the origins of human language. No doubt.

But surely the implications are still more profound. What this research suggests is that these monkeys are more linguistically advanced than the typical backbencher at Prime Minister's Questions, with their pathetically limited verbal range of "Ah!", "hear, hear" and "shame". We say: tribunes of the people, how about some suffixes? Otherwise we're in danger of falling behind our simian cousins.