The Biology of Deceit
A male [baboon], one who does not willingly share, caught an antelope. The female edged up to him and groomed him until he lulled under her attentions. She then snatched the antelope carcass and ran.
-- Lewin 1987
Do animals lie? What are the data to indicate that deceit exists in the animal kingdom in species other than Homo sapiens? The investigation of animal behaviors (the sciences of ethology and sociobiology) has been a valuable tool for understanding the role of instinct across different species. Such investigations will eventually allow us to better comprehend the functions of basic brain mechanisms that underlie human behaviors. Thus, the study of deceit in animals may have implications for determining certain underlying factors that influence different types of deceit, both verbal and nonverbal, in humans.
If one considers camouflage a form of deception, then deceit is certainly the rule of thumb in the animal kingdom ( Wile 1942). In a world of predators, it is important that an animal makes itself in-