|· Portal||Help Search Members Calendar|
|Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )||Resend Validation Email|
|Welcome to Boomorang. We hope you enjoy your visit.|
You're currently viewing our forum as a guest. This means you are limited to certain areas of the board and there are some features you can't use. If you join our community, you'll be able to access member-only sections, and use many member-only features such as customizing your profile, sending personal messages, and voting in polls. Registration is simple, fast, and completely free.
Join our community!
If you're already a member please log in to your account to access all of our features:
Posted: Oct 25 2006, 04:10 PM
Member No.: 1
Joined: 18-January 05
International Zoo News Vol. 53, No. 6 (2006), p. 325
A recent survey of primate intelligence [R.O. Deaner, C.P. van Schaik and V. Johnson, Evolutionary Psychology 4 (2006), 149-1961 has resulted in some unexpected findings. The study, led by Robert Deaner at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, analysed the results of dozens of problem solving puzzles given by scientists to various species. Previous research had attempted to compare different primates' abilities at specific tasks, including tests of ability to navigate mazes, to untangle a jumble of differently coloured threads to find food, and to spot the odd one out in a series of images, but no one had ever combined these data into an overall measure of intelligence. This is what Dr Deaner's team have now done, producing a league table of the cognitive ability of a number of genera or species (Table 1). The fact that orang-utans beat chimpanzees into first place will probably cause little surprise to keepers and curators with experience of the extraordinary powers of observation, concentration and persistence which have made these apes the Houdinis of the zoo world. But what becomes of the widely-held theory that group living triggers increased brain-power, if the solitary orang turns out to have a higher IQ than the gregarious chimp?
Table 1. League table of primate intelligence.
1 . Orang-utan
3. Spider monkey
5. Surili (Leaf monkey)
11. Woolly monkey
14. Slow loris
15 Night monkey
16. Ruffed lemur
17. Brown lemur
18. Fork-marked lemur
19. Ring-tailed lemur
21. Squirrel monkey
22. Mouse lemur
The appearance of the spider monkey in third place, ahead even of the gorilla, is astonishing. But the surprises continue all the way down. Most of us, probably, have always taken for granted a rough, generalized hierarchy of primate intelligence, with apes at the top, followed by Old World monkeys, New World monkeys and prosimians. The picture here is much more complicated. There are indeed five Old World monkeys in the top ten, but also two New World ones. Another Old World species, the talapoin, is at the bottom of the list. And who would have expected the slow loris to outsmart not merely the lemurs, but several monkeys as well? The findings will no doubt arouse much interest - and presumably some opposition - in the scientific community. But it would also be useful to hear the more subjective reactions of zoo people with long day-to-day experience of the animals in question.