Apes ‘can see trickery’
LONDON: Kinds of understanding that were thought to exist only in humans might also be shared by apes.
The knowledge that a person might think things about reality that aren’t true was thought to be held only by us.
New research with chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans, however, has found apes can tell if you’re making a mistake. We tend to develop that kind of awareness at about the age of 5.
We are then developing the ability to fully comprehend what other people are thinking and feeling.
Having that ability allows us to get along with other people, help them out and figure our way around the world.
It can be used negatively, too, to trick people into thinking things that aren’t the case.
And it was that skill for trickery that allowed scientists to test what apes know about what others are thinking.
Scientists showed the apes two short videos. In one, a person in a King Kong suit hides himself in one of two haystacks while a man watches.
The man then leaves through a door and the person in the King Kong suit runs away. The man then comes back in and tries to find King Kong.
The scientists watched the movement of the apes’ eyes while they were watching the video. And the apes looked longest at the place where King Kong had been hiding. That led the scientists to conclude they knew the man would think he was still there.
The research, led by Dr Christopher Krupenye of Duke University in the US and comparative psychologist Dr Fumihiro Kano of Kyoto University, Japan, will be published in the journal Science. – The Independent