Chimpanzees of all ages and all sexes can learn the simple circular relationship between the three different hand signals used in the well-known game rock-paper-scissors. Even though it might take them longer, they are indeed able to learn the game as well as a young child. Jie Gao of Kyoto University in Japan and Peking University in China is lead author of a study in the journal Primates, which is the official journal of the Japan Monkey Centre, and is published by Springer. The research compares the ability of chimpanzees and children to learn the rock-paper-scissors game.
The findings show that chimpanzees can learn the circular pattern at the heart of the game. However, it took them significantly longer to learn the third scissors-paper pair than it did to grasp the others, which indicates that they had difficulty finalizing the circular nature of the pattern. (public access) – Jie Gao, Yanjie Su, Masaki Tomonaga, Tetsuro Matsuzawa. Learning the rules of the rock–paper–scissors game: chimpanzees versus children. Primates, 2017; DOI: 10.1007/s10329-017-0620-0 More.
But why should anyone be surprised that an adult animal can learn some skills equivalent to those of a young child? Isn’t what happens a year or so later the main point of interest?
These people try hard, give them credit. But one wonders why they are doing it.
See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age?
Animal minds: In search of the minimal self