Further to BBC announces: Chimps have entered the Stone Age (Nonsense. Apes smash things with stones the way birds do. They will go on doing that indefinitely. If their cognition permitted more, they would be further along today), over at Evolution News & Views, Ann Gauger has provides a reality-based perspective on chimp intelligence:
Chimps as Incipient Humans? Darwinists Debate
Some of the reports of stone use appear valid. Capuchins and chimpanzees are all known to use stones to crack open food, and the technique appears to go back thousands of years. But then, no one is disputing that some animals use simple tools. Even otters use stones to break open clam shells.
It’s a question worth asking: Does the ability to use stones depend as much on having front paws or a beak as on intelligence? If, for example, horses don’t ever manipulate objects like stones, is that because they are less intelligent or because they lack a body part suited to the purpose?
Another BBC article, this one by Melissa Hogenboom, describes ways that chimps show empathy and social awareness, the ability to read facial expressions, to hide things from others, and to share. But then those things are not unique — anyone who has lived with dogs knows how acutely sensitive to social cues and facial expressions they are, and how they seem to show guilt over bad behavior. They can even share — or be greedy, depending on the dog’s temperament.
And of course, she describes how chimps have the capacity for language. Translation: chimps that have lived and trained with humans can have a vocabulary of five hundred words, and can understand thousands more.
But is this a sign that they are on the road to becoming like us? More.
No, not unless Alex, the African grey parrot (d. 2007) was too.
Now that would be interesting. The Tree of Life is firewood, and contact with humans confers intelligence. And the claimed 98%-99% genetic similarity between chimps and humans then means zilch,zip, nada. In which case, the picture that allegedly terrifies creationists (but doesn’t) should terrify Darwin’s followers much more.
See also: Bird brains and an ID definition of intelligence?
An intelligent dog, observing humans raising the latch on a grooming shop cage’s door, may realize that he could raise the latch on his cage himself, using his jaw or paw. (I have seen a dog figure this out, unassisted.) A less intelligent dog would choose a less successful strategy—perhaps, just whine and bark for a human to come and do it (in a situation where no human has any intention of doing it until the groomer is ready for the dog)…
Linguist comments on latest Ape speaks! claims
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