Always thought your dog or cat is smarter than others? Although not likely, it is possible your pet is a genius in its sort. It turns out not only humans differ in their intellectual abilities – among chimpanzees there are also some exceptionally intelligent individuals. The female chimp Natasha from Uganda is one example, discovered researchers Esther Herrmann and Josep Call. But it’s not that she just has a high IQ.
Her caretakers already knew she was a smartass. She threw sticks on the fence of her residency to check if the power was off so she could escape, in which she succeeded a couple of times. And she liked to attract people just to throw water at them. Now Call and Hermann tested her and 32 other chimps on eight different tasks and confirmed that she is indeed a significantly better performer than her congenators.
But Natasha’s abilities could not be explained by the g factor other scientists have written about, a general intelligence that manifests itself across a variety of abilities. The results of the different tasks the apes performed, like tool-use and causal reasoning, showed that the different abilities can not be traced back to one attribute, but stick together in clusters.
Although Hermann and Call have only studied chimpanzees so far, they do believe there can be geniuses among other non-human species as well. ”Interestingly,” the researchers note, “all of the dogs which are considered to be very smart, are border collies.”
Call and Hermann roughly outline a cluster of inferences, of learning and perhaps of tool-use and quantities, but they also note that more research is needed to confirm these potential talents of apes. It does however seem certain that it’s combined luck that Natasha has got them all.
Source: ABC News
Herrmann E, & Call J (2012). Are there geniuses among the apes? Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 367 (1603), 2753-61 PMID: 22927574