Tuesday, October 05, 2004


Young chimps make chumps of children

IN ADVERTS they are amusing creatures that ape human behaviour. But scientists have found that young chimpanzees can be more intelligent in their approach to some tasks than children of a similar age.

An experiment conducted at St Andrews University revealed that while children tried to tackle a puzzle without trying to analyse it, chimps of the same age used logic and managed to solve it....

“The chimps worked out that the stabbing motion was irrelevant, unlike the children. They were more discriminating and didn’t mindlessly copy everything they saw,” he said.

“Children were prone to copy everything, which appears a rather less intelligent approach.

“These findings force us to rethink what’s going on in chimps’ heads. It shows they learn from adults in a sophisticated way and that is evidence of culture in a non-human primate.”...

The study has encouraged animal campaigners to call for great apes to be given more protection. Each year people in Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia kill and eat thousands of them.