A Chimpanzee comes up with an ingenious way to solve a puzzle.
Kanzi, the “genius ape”, might be sent to a zoo due to a lack of funding at the Great Ape Trust. Help save him and his bonobo brethren by donating what you can!
Kanzi does NOT belong in a zoo. Here’s a quick list of what he is capable of:
Kanzi Demonstrates mastery of thousands of words on his touch screen lexicon (with symbols that look nothing like the words he picks, ensuring that he must truly understand the words verbally and conceptually, not just by the pictures). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRM7vTrIIis&playnext=1&list=PL3FF32A155BDBFDF9&feature=results_main
Kanzi Understands Spoken Language http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxmbjLoUnhk
Kanzi can understand complex sentences and commands http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Dhc2zePJFE
Kanzi in the Kitchen -Skip to about 1:20 to see Kanzi http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxmvRpnVXJQ
Kanzi can make stone cutting tools http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PljsEwjGSn0
PLEASE support this AMAZING groundbreaking scientific project by following this link and donating what you can!
Certain apes appear to be much smarter than others, with at least one chimpanzee now called “exceptional” when compared to other chimps.
The standout chimp, an adult female in her 20s named Natasha, scored off the charts in a battery of tests. The findings, published in the latest Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, suggest that geniuses exist among non-humans, but that no one attribute constitutes intelligence.
Instead, a perfect storm of abilities seems to come together to create the Einsteins of the animal kingdom. Natasha’s keepers at the Ngamba Island chimpanzee sanctuary in Uganda knew she was special even before the latest study.
"The caretakers named Natasha as the smartest chimpanzee, precisely the same chimpanzee that our tests had revealed to be exceptional," study authors Esther Herrmann and Josep Call of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology wrote.
"All three of the most experienced caretakers included Natasha in their lists (of the most intelligent chimps)," they added.
Natasha has made headlines over the months for her attention-grabbing antics. For instance, she repeatedly escaped her former enclosure, surrounded by an electric fence. She did this by tossing branches at the fence until she didn’t see a spark, letting her know that the power was off.
She also learned how to tease humans, beckoning them to throw food her way, only to spray the unsuspecting person with water.
Herrmann and Call decided to study this chimp, along with numerous others, to see if there really are chimp prodigies among non-human great apes. To do this, the researchers created a multi-part mental challenge consisting of eight tasks.
Read More at discovery.com
Kanzi the bonobo continues to impress. Not content with learning sign language or making up “words” for things like banana or juice, he now seems capable of making stone tools on a par with the efforts of early humans.
Eviatar Nevo of the University of Haifa in Israel and his colleagues sealed food inside a log to mimic marrow locked inside long bones, and watched Kanzi, a 30-year-old male bonobo chimp, try to extract it. While a companion bonobo attempted the problem a handful of times, and succeeded only by smashing the log on the ground, Kanzi took a longer and arguably more sophisticated approach.
Both had been taught to knap flint flakes in the 1990s, holding a stone core in one hand and using another as a hammer. Kanzi used the tools he created to come at the log in a variety of ways: inserting sticks into seams in the log, throwing projectiles at it, and employing stone flints as choppers, drills, and scrapers. In the end, he got food out of 24 logs, while his companion managed just two.
Perhaps most remarkable about the tools Kanzi created is their resemblance to early hominid tools. Both bonobos made and used tools to obtain food – either by extracting it from logs or by digging it out of the ground. But only Kanzi’s met the criteria for both tool groups made by early Homo: wedges and choppers, and scrapers and drills.
Do Kanzi’s skills translate to all bonobos? It’s hard to say. The abilities of animals like Alex the parrot, who could purportedly count to six, and Betty the crow, who crafted a hook out of wire, sometimes prompt claims about the intelligence of an entire species. But since these animals are raised in unusual environments where they frequently interact with humans, their cases may be too singular to extrapolate their talents to their brethren.
The findings will fuel the ongoing debate over whether stone tools mark the beginning of modern human culture, or predate our Homo genus. They appear to suggest the latter – though critics will point out that Kanzi and his companion were taught how to make the tools. Whether the behaviour could arise in nature is unclear.
Journal reference: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212855109
By decoding brain activity, scientists were able to “see” that two monkeys were planning to approach the same reaching task differently — even before they moved a muscle.
Anyone who has looked at the jagged recording of the electrical activity of a single neuron in the brain must have wondered how any useful information could be extracted from such a frazzled signal.
But over the past 30 years, researchers have discovered that clear information can be obtained by decoding the activity of large populations of neurons.
Now, scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, who were decoding brain activity while monkeys reached around an obstacle to touch a target, have come up with two remarkable results.
Their first result was one they had designed their experiment to achieve: they demonstrated that multiple parameters can be embedded in the firing rate of a single neuron and that certain types of parameters are encoded only if they are needed to solve the task at hand.
Their second result, however, was a complete surprise. They discovered that the population vectors could reveal different planning strategies, allowing the scientists, in effect, to read the monkeys’ minds.
By chance, the two monkeys chosen for the study had completely different cognitive styles. One, the scientists said, was a hyperactive type, who kept jumping the gun, and the other was a smooth operator, who waited for the entire setup to be revealed before planning his next move. The difference is clearly visible in their decoded brain activity.
Read More at sciencedaily.com
A chimp’s attention is captured by faces more effectively than by bananas. A series of experiments suggests that the apes are wired to respond to faces in a similar manner to humans.
See yet another way we are similar to out closest living relative. Also, perhaps more importantly, tips on how to get scientists to give you a treat.
Time and time again, the planet’s great apes have displayed their intelligence through reasoning and even architecture. However last week, two young mountain gorillas in Rwanda showed just how smart they were by finding and dismantling a trap set by poachers that had previously killed a member of their family group. According to conservationists, this is the first time such actions have been seen.
“This is absolutely the first time that we’ve seen juveniles doing that … I don’t know of any other reports in the world of juveniles destroying snares,” Veronica Vecellio, gorilla program coordinator at the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund‘s Karisoke Research Center, told National Geographic.“We are the largest database and observer of wild gorillas … so I would be very surprised if somebody else has seen that.”
Despite Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park being a wildlife refuge, poaching is still a problem. The snares, set by hunters in the region, are intended for antelope and other forms of game, however young apes are known to get accidentally caught in them. While adults are normally strong enough to get out of them, younger apes aren’t so lucky and often die. That was what happened to a young infant named Ngwino, who was found too late by workers from Karisoke, and later died of snare-related wounds. Deep lacerations had sliced open her leg and gangrene had set in.
Due to the illegality of hunting gorillas, the hunters often leave them to die, not wanting to be caught selling or in possession of the body. For those of you that don’t know, a snare is often attached to a branch and camouflaged to fool animals. If an animal sets off the trap, the branch springs upward, closing the noose around the prey. Staff from the Research Centre often find and dismantle the snares due to the risk, especially as mountain gorillas face “a very high risk of extinction in the wild.” However two young gorillas opted to take matters into their own hands.
On Tuesday tracker John Ndayambaje spotted a trap very close to the Kuryama gorilla clan. He moved in to deactivate the snare, but a silverback named Vubu grunted, cautioning Ndayambaje to stay away. Instead two juveniles—Rwema, a male; and Dukore, a female; both about four years old—ran toward the trap. According to Ndayambaje, “Rwema jumped on the bent tree branch and broke it, while Dukore freed the noose.” The pair then spied another snare nearby—one the tracker himself had missed—and destroyed that trap as well. Vecellio believes this wasn’t the first time the young gorillas had performed such teamwork. “They were very confident,” she said. “They saw what they had to do, they did it, and then they left.”
Kanzi, the Bonobo, follows fairly complex vocal instructions.
A TED lecture from Susan Savage-Rumbaugh, about Bonobos, their culture, and cultural transmission. It kinda jumps around a bit (there are other clips inserted which makes it a bit weird to watch at times) but it is fascinating.
The sophisticated nest building skills of Orangutans exhibit a degree of technical knowledge to match those of the most talented birds, say scientists.
The great apes construct large, oval nests in tree canopies where each evening they will curl up and sleep but little is known about their mechanical design.
A year-long study of over a dozen nests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has now shown the orangutans choose strong, rigid branches for the structural parts that support most of their weight. Females usually weigh about 100lbs but large males can weigh as much as 250lbs.
Weaker, pliable branches used for lining suggests the apes choose which ones to use where by examining their diameter and rigidity.
And sticks picked for the framework were cleverly snapped halfway across - leaving them attached - whereas those in the lining were completely severed.
The findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest orangutans use knowledge of the different ways branches break to erect strong and comfortable nests.
Biologist Dr Roland Ennos, of Manchester University, said - orangutans, like some birds - might possess engineering expertise.
Read more at The Daily Mail