Apes Can Plan for Their Future Needs

June 19, 2008 / No Comments

male bornean orangutan Apes Can Plan for Their Future Needs

Who said apes are not smart? If you did, you may want to reconsider because researchers from Lunds University Cognitive Science in Sweden explained that apes are able to plan for their future needs, just as we humans do – by using self-control and imagining future events. Now we understand why they go fishing

Mathias and Helena Osvath, the two researchers demonstrated that chimpanzees and orangutans could override immediate drives in favor of future needs.

They were then tempted with their favorite fruit alongside the hose to test their ability to suppress the choice of the immediate reward (favorite fruit) in favor of a tool (the hose) that would lead to a larger reward 70 minutes later on (the fruit soup). The apes chose the hose more frequently than their favorite fruit suggesting that they are able to make choices in favor of future needs, even when they directly compete with an immediate reward.

Though I like apes very much (how not to love – pic) I’m not sure if they plan or not. Maybe they’ve just built habits or were forced to develop habits, what do you think?
The research is going to be published online this week in Springer’s journal, Animal Cognition.

Original image by guppiecat