Animal minds Intelligent Design

Chimps can learn to uses tools on their own, without being taught

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But is that intelligence or imprinting? Common chimpanzee/jdavenport85, Fotolia

From ScienceDaily:

New observations have led researchers to believe that chimpanzees can use tools spontaneously to solve a task, without needing to watch others first.

The evidence of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) spontaneously using sticks to scoop food from water surfaces is published in the open-access journal PeerJ.

The results challenge the accepted belief that chimpanzees need to learn from each other how to use tools, and instead suggest that some (if not all) forms of tool-use are instead within their pre-existing behavioural repertoire (what the authors call “latent solutions”).

Elisa Bandini explained, “The commonly held belief is that chimpanzee behaviour is cultural, much like how human culture has been passed between groups. But if that was the case, the same behaviours should never re-occur in naïve subjects. Nobody, for example, could accurately reinvent extinct languages on the spot.”

Well, reinventing an extinct language is a higher bar than using a stick to get food, which many life forms can do.

Due to the close genetic ties between humans and chimpanzees, it is likely that naïve individuals also spontaneously invented some forms of early human material culture.

Dr Claudio Tennie added, “Given these results, the long-held assumption that apes must observe one another in order to show these behaviours may have been due to an illusion of cultural transmission — created by the apes arriving at the same behaviour independently.” Paper. (public access) – Elisa Bandini, Claudio Tennie. Spontaneous reoccurrence of “scooping”, a wild tool-use behaviour, in naïve chimpanzees. PeerJ, 2017; 5: e3814 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3814 More.

It’s hard to know what to think here. The smart New Zealand crows do not apparently learn much from each other and their tasks in the experiments were much more complex than using a stick.

Overall, the furry is not winning out over the feathery, never mind entering the Stone Age.

See also: Smart crows don’t show much evidence of social learning

Ravens, crows, as smart as chimps

and

Are apes entering the Stone Age?

4 Replies to “Chimps can learn to uses tools on their own, without being taught

  1. 1
    tribune7 says:

    If the point of natural selection was survival why would ever have evolved from bacteria?

    Simple is more suited to survival than complex.

  2. 2
    critical rationalist says:

    If the point of natural selection was survival why would ever have evolved from bacteria?

    It’s not merely survival of the organism. Genes play a causal role in being retained when embedded in a storage mechanism. This means being copied into the next generation. In this case the organism is included in the gene’s environment, which doesn’t necessarily mean the organism becomes more fit.

    One way to attack a theory you find objectionable is to present a false theory of it, then point out, well, it’s false.

  3. 3
    J-Mac says:

    The making of the tools doesn’t seem to have evolved however…but materialists keep their fingers crossed…with the hopes of getting some funding to explain this paradox…

  4. 4
    tribune7 says:

    –One way to attack a theory you find objectionable is to present a false theory of it–

    OTOH, the way to defend a false theory you embrace is to change the parameters when the original ones are shown not to make sense.

    The purpose of natural selection is what according to the traditional claims of the theory?

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