A chimp genius can complete a computer memory test in less time than it takes the average person to blink – and much faster than any human rival. But do the world’s cleverest animals enjoy these cognitive tasks?
Ayumu, who was born and raised in Japan’s Kyoto University, can remember the location and order of a set of numbers in record time. Sixty milliseconds to be precise.
Of course, it is not “natural” behaviour for a chimp to interact with a computer screen, but scientists suggest this type of task could be good for captive apes.
“Unfortunately, captive great apes often exhibit behavioural signs of boredom, frustration and stress,” says Fay Clark from the Royal Veterinary College’s Centre for Animal Welfare.
Working with the Zoological Society of London, Ms Clark has recently published a review of research investigating whether challenges that get captive apes thinking can enhance their well-being.
“If an ape does not receive enough cognitive challenge in life, this can lead to abnormal behaviours or a lack of interest in the environment,” she tells BBC Nature.
“The key is for scientists to develop challenges which are relevant, motivating, and ultimately solvable if they are going to be used as enrichment.”
Written By: Ella Davies & Anna-Louise Taylorcontinue to source article at bbc.co.uk