I know something you don't know -- and I will tell you

Dec 29, 2011
Chimpanzees fear snakes. This one took refuge on a tree. Credit: Roman Wittig/MPI f. Evolutionary Anthropology

Researchers found that wild chimpanzees monitor the information available to other chimpanzees and inform their ignorant group members of danger.

Many animals produce alarm calls to predators, and do this more often when kin or mates are present than other audience members. So far, however, there has been no evidence that they take the other group members' knowledge state into account.

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and the University of St. Andrews, Great Britain, set up a study with wild in Uganda and found that chimpanzees were more likely to alarm call to a snake in the presence of unaware than in the presence of aware , suggesting that they recognize knowledge and ignorance in others. Furthermore, to share new information with others by means of communication represents a crucial stage in the evolution of language. This study thus suggests that this stage was already present when our common ancestor split off from 6 million years ago.

The ability to recognize another individuals' knowledge and beliefs may be unique to humankind. Tests of a "" in animals have been mainly conducted in captivity and have yielded conflicting results: Some non-human primates can read others' intentions and know what others see, but they may not understand that, in others, perception can lead to knowledge. When there are negative results, however, the question remains whether chimpanzees really cannot do the task or whether they simply do not understand it. "The advantage of addressing these questions in wild chimpanzees is that they are simply doing what they always do in an ecologically relevant setting", says Catherine Crockford, a researcher at the University of St. Andrews.

Catherine Crockford, Roman Wittig and colleagues set up a study with wild chimpanzees in Budongo Forest, Uganda. They presented them with models of dangerous , two gaboon vipers and one rhinoceros viper. "As these highly camouflaged snakes sit in one place for weeks, it pays for the chimp who discovers it to inform other community members about the danger", says Crockford.

The researchers have monitored the behavior of 33 different chimpanzees, who saw one of three snake models and found that alarm calls were produced more when the caller was with group members who had either not seen the snake or had not been present when alarm calls were emitted. "Chimpanzees really seem to take another's knowledge state into account and voluntarily produce a warning call to inform the others of a danger that they [the others] do not know about", says Roman Wittig of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the University of St. Andrews. "In contrast, chimpanzees were less likely to inform audience members who already know about the danger."

This study shows that these are not only intentionally produced alert calls, but that they are produced more when the audience is ignorant of the danger. "It is as if the chimpanzees really understand that they know something the audience does not AND they understand that by producing a specific vocalization they can provide the audience with that information", concludes Wittig. Some scientists suggest that providing group members with missing information by means of communication is a crucial stage in the evolution of language: why inform audience members if you do not realize they need the information? Until now it was not clear at what point in hominoid or hominid evolution this stage evolved. It has been assumed that it was more likely to be during hominid evolution. This study suggests, however, that it was already present when our split off from chimps 6 million years ago.

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Krypton
4.7 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2011
Yes, but do the ignorant monkeys always believe what they are being told or do the unbelievers end up as snake dung?

Furthermore, do the ignorant monkeys ever get lied to? If so, then do they learn to not believe what they are told (like people who listened to the boy who cried wolf, untill that one day...) and then end up as snake dung?

Did the researchers assume that lying is only found in Mankind?
FrankHerbert
2.8 / 5 (98) Dec 29, 2011
Interestingly enough, robots in the laboratory have evolved the ability to lie on their own in only a few generations.

What's that Kevin? Is it another gap closing?
Krypton
4 / 5 (4) Dec 29, 2011
Interestingly enough, robots in the laboratory have evolved the ability to lie on their own in only a few generations.


Were the robot's tricked into believing a lie and then unkowingly claimed it to be true? Were the researchers decieving the robots sensors? or did they put a "faulty" sensor or algorithm in the software?

Please elaborate. Were these lies "intentional" or the product of a robot failing to realize the truth, and then jumping to a faulty conclusion?
kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (3) Dec 29, 2011
Lol FrankHerbert i have never seen such a low IQ post from you.

Anyway of-course they "fear" snakes, they are fast and deadly. I don't think they fear them, they are cautious and warn others about the snakes or is that classified as fear?

Anyway i didn't read the article the title is too dumb.
HealingMindN
5 / 5 (2) Dec 29, 2011
..Furthermore, do the ignorant monkeys ever get lied to? If so, then do they learn to not believe what they are told (like people who listened to the boy who cried wolf, untill that one day...) and then end up as snake dung?

Did the researchers assume that lying is only found in Mankind?


This nature series on PBS talked about how monkeys sometimes lie to protect a stash of food because they can be selfish, so they will indeed cry "snake," then they run for president.
Cave_Man
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 30, 2011
Lol FrankHerbert i have never seen such a low IQ post from you.

Anyway of-course they "fear" snakes, they are fast and deadly. I don't think they fear them, they are cautious and warn others about the snakes or is that classified as fear?

Anyway i didn't read the article the title is too dumb.

Redundant, simple minded research.

The whole notion that chimps learning sign language and showing intelligence is just some phenomenon and not truly equal to human intelligence is so ridiculously purported that it has become an accurate indicator of the level of intelligence available in the perpetrator.

The realization that all life is equal, with a cell being like the perfect entity, no senses, no grand purpose, just existence, plain and simple, and that there are even larger schemes at work when considering whether or not a star or planet is alive, it makes you think.

Cave_Man
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2011
I think it would be great to have a chimp hang out with me while I build a house, build it over and over until the chimp is your bad ass little builder. I bet exposing closely related monkeys to everyday luxury and lifestyle would almost certainly result in some very educated chimps, im sure some would freak out and some would not adjust to the change, but some would get it down. Already happened(s) with tv or film monkeys, monkeys trained to grab money etc.

Just come up with some simple exercises and the repetition and growth of a skill would be easy to obtain in just about anything.

I train my cat as best as I can, dogs are easier, puppies are the best. The hard part is being creative enough to keep them paying attention and learning, they get bored and so do we.

But monkeys with their information sharing abilities might be able to teach each other better than we can teach them (faster at least)
crr
5 / 5 (2) Dec 30, 2011
"Until now it was not clear at what point in hominoid or hominid evolution this stage evolved. It has been assumed that it was more likely to be during hominid evolution. This study suggests, however, that it was already present when our common ancestor split off from chimps 6 million years ago."

Something about this statement at the end of the article raises a flag (albeit I am not an authority on hominid/hominoid evolution). How do we know that this behaviour pre-existed the evolutionary split or that chimps managed to evolve it on their own over the past 6M years? Or am I off base?
Djincss
4 / 5 (1) Dec 30, 2011
To me it is interesting how much the chimps have changed since we split. Maybe they have moved a little bit forward since then.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Dec 31, 2011
@ Caveman

It would be interesting to see what would happen if schooled primates like Kanzi were released into the wild.

http://en.wikiped...ki/Kanzi

...I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say monkey business, lots of monkey business.

;)
Norezar
not rated yet Jan 01, 2012
I think it would be great to have a chimp hang out with me while I build a house, build it over and over until the chimp is your bad ass little builder. I bet exposing closely related monkeys to everyday luxury and lifestyle would almost certainly result in some very educated chimps, im sure some would freak out and some would not adjust to the change, but some would get it down. Already happened(s) with tv or film monkeys, monkeys trained to grab money etc.

Just come up with some simple exercises and the repetition and growth of a skill would be easy to obtain in just about anything.

I train my cat as best as I can, dogs are easier, puppies are the best. The hard part is being creative enough to keep them paying attention and learning, they get bored and so do we.

But monkeys with their information sharing abilities might be able to teach each other better than we can teach them (faster at least)


It would be interesting to raise a chimpanzee as a human child, with humans.