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Chimpanzees’ Memory Far Better than Ours

Chimpanzees’ Memory Far Better than Ours

Some cognitive abilities of chimps are beyond the powers of an ordinary human.

Picture this task: the numbers 1 to 19 appear randomly on a screen. For example, number one in the middle, number two in the right upper corner, number three below number one, etc. The challenge is to sequence the numbers, by touching the correct ascening order. First number one, then number two, and so on. Easy, you may think. But, once you have touched the first digit, all others are masked. Hmm.. where was number two, or three, or nineteen?!

For chimpanzee Ayumu this task is peanuts. The smart-ass always remembers the correct order, according to the researchers who study his cognitive abilities. Along with 13 other chimps he lives at the The Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University. Six out of six chimpanzees tested could rapidly remember the location and order of nine digits, said Tetsuro Matsuzawa, one of the researchers at the institute.

Last week he showed the video below at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The attendees were amazed by Ayumu’s ability to quickly recall numbers. “Don’t worry, nobody can do it,” Matsuzawa said. “It’s impossible for you.”

Chimpanzees need a well developed short-term memory to survive in the wild, where they often must make rapid and complex decisions. Apparently we don’t need to use ours as much as we once did..

Source: Huffington Post, Live Science
Photo Credit: Delphine Bruyere / Commons Wikimedia

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Carian Thus
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