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Is a chimp smarter than a 4-year-old?



Chimps spit water into tube to reach peanuts


In Aesop’s fable “the crow and the pitcher” the bird uses stones to raise the water level in a jug. Chimps in an experiment showed a similar problem solving skills to obtain some peanuts.

A research team in Germany tested this challenge on five gorillas, 43 chimpanzees and three groups of 24 kids aged 4, 6 and 8.

The subjects were given a 26 centimter glass tube quarter filled with water and several peanuts and a water dispenser a meter away. The test was designed so that they could only reach their prize was by filling up the vial several times with water so that the peanuts reached the top, lead researcher Daniel Hanus, from the Max Planck Institute told BBC.

In the experiment, all five gorillas were overwhelmed by the task. For the humans, two of the 4-year-olds, 10 of the 6-year-olds and 14 of the 8-year-olds succeeded in solving the puzzle.

This captured photo shows a chimp pouring water into a glass tube to eat peanut during a test conducted in Germany.
This captured photo shows a chimp pouring water into a glass tube to eat peanut during a test conducted in Germany.


Out of 43 chimps, 14 realized that they needed to spit water into the glass tube, and half of that actually obtained the peanuts.

Scientists said that the three groups found it more difficult to obtain the peanuts when they were contained in a dry tube because “it requires thinking about water as a possible solution without having already seen it or its effect.”



By Christopher Kim

Intern Reporter

(chriskim1006@gmail.com)



<한글 번역>


아기보다 똑똑? 침팬지의 놀라운 지능

이솝 우화의 영리한 까마귀에 대한 이야기 침팬지들이 실제로 재현하고 있어 눈길을 끌고 있다.



독일 막스 플랑크 연구소의 다니엘 하누스 책임연구원은 침팬지, 고릴라 그리고 어린이의 지능을 확인하기 위해 특이한 실험을 선보였다.



이번 실험에서는 대상들이 조금의 물이 들어있는 26센치 유리병에서 땅콩을 얻는 것이었다. 근처에는 물이 공급되는 장소가 있었다.



실험 결과 고릴라 5마리는 모두 실패했으며 각 4,6,8살 그룹에 있던 어린이 그룹에는 각각 24명 중 2,10,14명이 컵에 물을 담고 여러 번 유리관에 부어서 성공했다.



하지만 침팬지 43 중에서 무려 14마리가 입에 물을 머금는 방식을 깨우치고 그 중 7마리는 여러 번 유리병에 물을 뱉어 수위를 높여 땅콩을 먹었다.



과학자들은 만약에 유리병에 조금의 물이 없었으면 실험대상들에게 훨씬 더 어려운 과제였을 거라고 전했다. 물이 유리병에 끼치는 영향을 혼자서 습득하기 어렵기 때문이라고 플로스 원 저널에 기재했다.


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