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Previous research in cotton-top tamarins had shown that the animals can understand basic grammar, for instance, identifying which words logically follow other words in a sentence.
But that same study, published in the journal Science in 2004, found that monkeys did not understand complex grammar, such as when words in a sentence depend on each other but are separated.
While that study suggested monkeys were deaf to complex communication, the new research shows that tamarins can grasp at least one advanced concept: prefixes and suffixes.