Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Cleverness of the Apes

Many people have the hugely erroneous view that the great apes are unintelligent beasts, acting solely out of instinct.  This is an antiquated perspective that ignores the last 50 years of primate research.  It is now known that the other non-human apes have language skills, commonly use tools for a variety of purposes, and are problem-solving, sentient beings.  Humans are not as special as we'd like to believe, and we are not that different from our more hirsute cousins, sasquatches included.  

Sasquatches, being most likely even more closely related to humans than the other apes, are therefore likely to share many (or most) of the same behaviors as both the other extant great apes and humans.  It is that belief that brings me to point you towards the following excellent article. As with everything I write, please read the following with bigfoots in mind.  In fact, do most things in your life with bigfoots in mind...  I do.

The Cleverness of the Apes

In “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” experiments with genetic engineering lead to an incredibly intelligent species of ape. In reality, these non-human primates are in fact very smart and have better, faster memories than we do. Check out these pictures documenting milestones in great ape intelligence: Chimpanzees make and use tools, gorillas use sign language, bonobos understand spoken language and syntax, orangutans communicate by attaching meaning to arbitrary symbols and making logical, thoughtful choices, and more. — Global Animal
National Geographic, Christine Dell’Amore

An adult female lowland gorilla in the Republic of the Congo's
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park uses a walking stick to
gauge the water's depth. The behavior, documented in a 2005
study in the journal PLoS Biology, was the first evidence that wild
gorillas use tools. Photo credit: Breuer, Ndoundou-Hockemba,
Fishlock et al, PLoS Biology

The supersmart chimpanzees of the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes may exist only on the silver screen — but in real life, great apes are still brainiacs of the animal kingdom.

The “notion is [tool use] requires higher intelligence, because it requires refashioning what nature has provided to achieve the user’s goal,” Anne Russon, an expert in ape intelligence at Canada’s York University, said via email.
Since the toolmaking discovery, scientists have discovered our closest cousins can use sign language, hunt with spears of their own making, and even beat college students in basic memory tests, among other skills.
Koko, a lowland gorilla born in 1971, is currently the most language-proficient nonhuman, according to the Gorilla Foundation, which teaches ASL to gorillas.
The gorilla has a vocabulary of more than a thousand signs, understands about 2,000 words of spoken English, and initiates most conversations with people, according to the foundation’s website.
Her IQ is between 70 and 95 on a human scale—100 is considered a “normal” human IQ.
“Great apes have [language] skills that are similar to small children,” Thomas Breuer, an ape researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society in the Republic of the Congo, said by email.
Added York University’s Russon: “The great leap forward was using manual signs rather than vocal sounds for language—important because great apes don’t have the same control over sound creation as humans do.”
To read the rest of the article, click this link.

1 comment:

  1. Very well done! When you add that Sasquatch has been on two feet with free hands for a very long time, you have a very bright fellow. I suspect smarter than my boss. No, I'm SURE he's brighter than my boss.