Friday, January 29, 2010

Chimpanzee Memory Test

Over and over again I am asked how the sasquatch could possibly have remained "undiscovered" for so long. While there are many details that go along with the answer to that question, it basically comes down to three things (in descending order of importance):

1. Humans vastly underestimate the other great apes.
2. Humans vastly underestimate the terrain in which these creatures live.
3. Humans vastly overestimate themselves.

Hundreds of pages could be written about the points above. Today's blog will only give a brief illustration of humans' underestimation of apes.

Humans feel nice and safe knowing that apes are significantly stronger than them because it's a physical trait. Apes are often viewed as brutes, so we are well-versed in the fact that we can't compete with them in this way. A chimpanzee (standing approximately four feet tall) is usually five or six times stronger than a man. The larger apes (gorillas and orangutans) are even stronger, perhaps 12 to 20 times so, though apparently no proper study has been conducted.

Some might get uncomfortable when it comes to comparing mental abilities... I don't. I love feeling my primate roots. It increases my appreciation of both them and us as kindred species. It makes me cringe to hear people refer to apes as "mere" animals, or "stupid" apes. Intelligence is a relative thing, and it is only through our own arrogance that humans judge it by what we can do well.

I recently ran across a video that illustrates an aspect of point #1 above in regards to apes' mental capabilities. I think it might blow your mind. It did mine. It made me giggle in humility too.

Things like this make me wonder about the cognative abilities of sasquatches. What are the possible implications of this video in regards to sasquatch food resources, habituations, or even threats should a foolish hunter pull the trigger on a bigfoot and not bring it down in one shot?

This last thought reminds me of the late Dr. Grover Krantz's response to the question, "What would be the first thing you'd do if you shot one?"

"Reload," he replied.


  1. Frightening, huh? We have savants that could do it, but not your regular Joe on the street. Yeah, Great Apes stayed hidden into the 20th Century, so why not Sasquatch into the 21st? I'm sure they're exceptionally understanding of the signs of where humans are and stay well and away from those signs whether they're roadways, powerlines, or car motors.

  2. Great post, Cliff. Thought provoking, to say the least...

  3. I agree that we underestimate and under appreciate the Great Apes. The study is interesting, yet as humans, we take visual and audible cues on a grander scale and make instantaneous decisions every second of our lives.

    The study gives the impression that our memories are not as quick or faulty in terms of picking random numbers on a screen yet we are no longer in the wild looking for food and trying to survive within a specific habitat competing for mating and hierarchy rights. I feel it's prudent to be careful how we assimilate the message.

    This is thought provoking and an opportunity to appreciate the current research opening the doors to understanding the closest animals to humans.

    Also, the comparison of species also occurs with other animals such as Bear who are smart animals instead of the lumbering mindless animals portrayed. It's easier to dismiss what we don't understand when it pertains to intelligence in other animal life.

    Thanks for a great blog post.