Monday, April 09, 2007

Chimps can count (and The Pope of the Chimps)

Its slightly hard to justify this story here, but its very cool. This week's Science (April 6, 2007) reported on a conference titled, "The Mind of the Chimpanzee", held at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo from March 23-25. While it had many fascinating discussions on chimpanzee culture, habits, tool-making, etc., one thing that stood out was about a chimp who was taught to remember sequence of numbers:
After the zoo's Elizabeth Lonsdorf, a conference co-organizer, kicked off the meeting by having the participants give each other a "proper chimp greeting," she introduced Kyoto University's Tetsuro Matsuzawa, one of the few researchers who studies both wild and captive chimpanzees. Matsuzawa's talk kept the audience participation level high, eliciting loud "oohs," "ahhs," and guffaws. Matsuzawa described the numerical skills of a chimpanzee named Ai and her son Ayumu, who live at the university's Primate Research Institute in Kyoto. Building on work he first reported in Nature 7 years ago, he showed videos of Ayumu using a touch-screen monitor to select the randomly displayed numbers 0 through 9, in ascending order.
Well this is quite amazing. But's the real kicker:

He then repeatedly performed a more difficult variation on this task, in which the numbers were masked with white blocks shortly after they were flashed on the screen. "No one can do this," he said, proving the point with a hilarious clip of his graduate students failing the exercise with only four masked numbers. "Our common ancestors might have had immediate memory, but in the course of evolution, they lost this and acquired languagelike skills," posited Matsuzawa.
This is great stuff! (here is a 36-second clip of Ayumu working with numbers)

And now to justify this post for science & religion, here is a link to a nice short story by Robert Silverberg called The Pope of the Chimps


Anonymous said...

This is a hoax and a fraudulent news item trying to manipulate truth unto the masses into blindly accepting ape-human evolutionary propaganda and further Marxism worldwide.

The chimp has NO IDEA what numbers are or how to add random numbers (I dare any Ape believer to put 9+33+2+9+0=? in front of a chimp or any other random numerical question without teaching him the question and answer prior and see if he can add and create a value =x ).

All the chimp has been taught is how to repeat a sequence of images (the numbers are just images to him) which over a long period of time he has been able to put into memory by use of sound and food reinforcement.

This is the same type of trick you can teach many other animals to do over a long period of time. The chimp is NOT COUNTING, the chimp is REPEATING PATTERNS ingrained into him over time through reinforcement (NOT through coherent understanding of what a number is or what number value even means).

Anyone who had good fast use of their hands and arms after memorizing the patterns that the chimps learned here could easily keep up with the chimps, but the test subjects in this hoaxed experiment were not given months if not years to practice and put the patterns into memory mentally and physically through movement of arms as were these chimps.

Of course none of these facts will EVER be exposed in any mainstream media outlet as most all of them are controlled by people who wish to further the Marxist Darwinian propaganda.

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