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The Big Question: What does forward-planning reveal about chimps' relationship to humans?

 

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

 

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

 

Why are we asking this now?

 

A chimp called Santino in Furuvik Zoo in Sweden has been found to be capable of planning for the future by calmly building up a cache of stones in the early morning hours ready for opening time when he would then hurl them at gawping visitors. According to scientist Mathias Osvath of Lund University, Santino's behaviour shows that our fellow apes consider the future in a very complex way.

 

"It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including life-like mental simulations of potential events," Dr Osvath said. "They most probably have an 'inner world' like we have when reviewing past episodes of our lives or thinking of days to come. When wild chimps collect stones or go out to war, they probably plan this in advance. I would guess they plan much of their everyday behaviour." This is not the behaviour we come to expect of "dumb" animals – chimpanzees appear to be almost human-like.

 

An inner world? The chimp, seeing the humans coming in and out of his area, doesn't throw a stone at him, grab his keys and takes off? Why not?

 

In what other ways do chimps show similarities to humans?

 

There are several different observations that point to their human-like nature. Chimps who have undergone medical experiments, for instance, exhibit the classic behavioural symptoms shown by people who have suffered extensive torture. The hand gestures of chimps – such as the open-palm begging posture – are similar to those of humans and might derive from a common origin.

 

 

My child at 1yr of age....

 

Wild chimps have also been found to engage in a form of primitive warfare against neighbouring chimps. They also experience infectious yawning, when one yawning member of a group sets off yawning in everyone else. Chimps are also prone to many of the viral infections of humans, such as Ebola and HIV. All in all, they are really quite human in many respects.

 

Cats can get FIV, same as HIV, just for cats though. Does that mean my great grandpa was a cat? He licked his hand, to comb his hair :scratch:

 

Any specific examples of behaviour in common?

Several. A female chimp called Ai, for instance, was taught to count to 10 and to remember five-figure numbers, just two short of the seven-digit telephone numbers most people can just about recall.

 

My child at 3yrs of age.....

 

Another chimp called Panbanisha had been trained to understand simple English sentences, although this fell short of being able to communicate in a true, spoken language. The chimp was brought up to remember a lexigram, a computer screen full of symbols which she can press to produce a rudimentary response to a human voice.

 

Because they aren't human beings :Doh:

 

Panbanisha became able to recognise certain favourite or key words, such as "outdoors" and "M&Ms", when spoken in the proper context with a certain intonation. Another chimp, called Kanzi, would accurately locate the correct printed symbol on a lexigram for a given spoken word or phrase. This suggests that they can identify spoken sounds, even if the understanding is limited in the context of speech and language.

 

O-Kay. My dog can do that ??

But are these just tricks or do they suggest a higher intelligence?

 

Yes, smartest question yet of this article.

 

Of course animals kept domestically can be trained to perform a wide variety of seemingly clever tricks, although there is mounting evidence that wild chimps have a more sophisticated understanding of the world than scientists once gave them credit for.

 

Take, for instance, the use of tools, which was once considered to be a defining feature of humanity. Wild chimps are now known to use tools widely, such as the use of sticks to "fish" for termites or stones to crack open hard nuts. Indeed, a few years ago scientists filmed chimps using a "tool kit" to fish for termites. They would create a hole in a termite nest with one, thick stick and push another, thinner stick with a deliberately frayed end down the same hole to catch the termites. This was the first known example of chimps using two different tools to perform a given task.

 

That was a joke right? The chimps use tools, so that makes them human? What about beavers!! Are we related to beavers, they build houses out of sticks.

 

Humans have culture. What do chimps have?

 

If culture is defined as passing on learning and tradition to future generations, then chimps have it. Ten years ago, scientists published a large study drawing on a knowledge of more than 150 years of chimpanzee observations in the forests of central Africa showing that wild chimps have an array of traditions that they pass on to their offspring.

 

The scientist showed that while there were several examples of chimp behaviour, such as drumming on trees, that were shared across the entire region, there were many other examples – about 40 in total – that had evolved separately in different areas of the region and passed on to subsequent generations inhabiting that area.

 

The chimps in Gombe national park in Tanzania, for instance, would fish for ants using a long branch which they would regularly swipe with their hands to collect the insects into a ball that they would put into their mouths.

 

The chimps at other sites, meanwhile, would fish with shorter twigs that they would lick with their lips and tongues – a far more inefficient method. Scientists said that the difference came down to cultural practice passed on down the generations of geographically separated troupes of chimps.

 

Animal instinct for chimps.

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continued......

 

 

How closely related are chimps to humans?

 

We are so close in terms of our genes that the science writer Jared Diamond once famously called us the "third chimpanzee" – the two others being the common chimp and the pygmy chimp, or bonobo. A genetic comparison suggests we share about 98 per cent of our DNA – give or take a few per cent depending on what is being compared. We share a common ancestor that lived between 5 million and 7 million years ago. One study has calculated that the split between humans and chimps occurred 6.3 million years ago, although there may well have been many centuries or millennia of continued cross-breeding between ancestral chimps and ancestral humans.

 

Then why the hell aren't they taken over yet, or building fortresses, houses, expanding, building boats to move over water,?

 

Should we think of chimps as a variation on humans?

 

They are so close that some scientists have indeed suggested that they should be included in the human lineage on the grounds that they are closer to us than to the other great apes, such as gorillas. Leaving aside the details of our common evolutionary heritage, it is clear that chimps are the closest living relative of humans.

 

So what makes chimps different to humans?

 

Brain size is probably the most important physical features. The human brain is about three times larger than the brain of chimps for our body size. It is this immense growth of the human brain during the few millions years of evolutionary history that really distinguishes the two species and determines the uniquely human traits such as language, consciousness and creativity.

 

There you have it folks, end of discussion. We are different, unique. And we will not know any different unless we have a time machine!!

 

We also walk on two legs, whereas chimps have gone down the less-efficient knuckle-walking path. Bipedalism has freed our hands for using tools and to move large distances over open savannah, rather then being confined to forested areas. Tools and the control of fire has enabled humans to exploit a different, more nutritious diet than chimps. The other thing that separates male chimps out from men is the relative size of their testicles – the much bigger testes of chimps indicates that they are more promiscuous by nature than humans.

 

I guess they were loving chimps, or animals. Animals have no concept of marriage, relationships, love, kindness, in lue of the female. Compassion, dignity, monogamy.

 

Animals. Just like my male cat trying to screw his momma, animals.

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An inner world? The chimp, seeing the humans coming in and out of his area, doesn't throw a stone at him, grab his keys and takes off? Why not?

Because they're in a zoo? They're stuck in a cage of some sort. They wouldn't know to look for any keys even if they managed to get to the humans nor what to do with the keys once they found them (they may know keys can open things from other observations but not that they start a specific car and go to a specific house so they'd likely try them on everything just as we would in an alien environment). This isn't an "Escape from the Zoo" movie. The chimps don't have all human knowledge locked up in their heads but are somehow unable to express it.

 

My child at 1yr of age....

So a similarity?

 

Cats can get FIV, same as HIV, just for cats though. Does that mean my great grandpa was a cat? He licked his hand, to comb his hair :scratch:

If your cat caught the human form of these diseases then, yes, he may have been. A cat can't get AIDS from a human. A chimp can. This is very different.

 

My child at 3yrs of age.....

Another similarity? Your kid seems a lot like the chimp. The difference only appear to vary in intelligence. Curious.

 

That was a joke right? The chimps use tools, so that makes them human? What about beavers!! Are we related to beavers, they build houses out of sticks.

One is a building material and one is a tool. Do you build your home out of hammers or using hammers? I suppose either is possible but we generally use the hammer as a tool and not as a building material. The chimps have learned that they can use simple tools, like sticks, as an extension of their own arms to get at the food they want. No different than us use simple levers (a "stick" by the way...guess we're beavers) or hammers/bats/swords/batons/etc. for that little extra "umph" in those situations when our own limited arm/hands just aren't enough to get the job done. And I've been known to use a stick to break a pinata or used a broom "stick" (when I'm not sweeping) to try to wrangle something down from someplace that was just out of reach (though we've gotten smarter and made those "grabber" sticks now). We use sticks all the time. It's such an elegant tool in its simplicity that many people simply tend to overlook it.

 

Animal instinct for chimps.

Not "instinct." Taught and learned behavior. You missed it.

 

mwc

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I saw something really funny on the news yesterday.

 

At Sea World they've just discovered that the dolphins have invented a game. They make air bubbles under the water and spin them around and create perfect circles, and swim through them, and make and catch bubbles with their mouth. It was very interesting to see, because this is not a taught behavior by humans, but something they have invented on their own for passing time and play.

 

The second short story was from a zoo where some particular kind of monkey had figured out to floss their teeth. I think they took their own hair and used it to remove food, just like flossing. But the interesting part was that the mommy monkey was teaching the baby monkey how to do it!

 

No one can tell me they don't have some capability to reason, invent and learn.

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Because they're in a zoo? They're stuck in a cage of some sort. They wouldn't know to look for any keys even if they managed to get to the humans nor what to do with the keys once they found them (they may know keys can open things from other observations but not that they start a specific car and go to a specific house so they'd likely try them on everything just as we would in an alien environment). This isn't an "Escape from the Zoo" movie. The chimps don't have all human knowledge locked up in their heads but are somehow unable to express it.

 

Alright, scratch keys, lets just say they revolt against the keeper? End up in the lobby or something. Why don't they do that?

 

If your cat caught the human form of these diseases then, yes, he may have been. A cat can't get AIDS from a human. A chimp can. This is very different.

 

Then how does this compare to other diseases from other animals, that humans can get? This Aids human /chimp connection is just a result of the DNA structure being similar, right?

 

 

Another similarity? Your kid seems a lot like the chimp. The difference only appear to vary in intelligence. Curious.

 

The point is that, now, she is 9; and can speak in communication with other humans, solve math problems, get dressed by herself, ...and use tools!

 

One is a building material and one is a tool. Do you build your home out of hammers or using hammers? I suppose either is possible but we generally use the hammer as a tool and not as a building material. The chimps have learned that they can use simple tools, like sticks, as an extension of their own arms to get at the food they want. No different than us use simple levers (a "stick" by the way...guess we're beavers) or hammers/bats/swords/batons/etc. for that little extra "umph" in those situations when our own limited arm/hands just aren't enough to get the job done. And I've been known to use a stick to break a pinata or used a broom "stick" (when I'm not sweeping) to try to wrangle something down from someplace that was just out of reach (though we've gotten smarter and made those "grabber" sticks now). We use sticks all the time. It's such an elegant tool in its simplicity that many people simply tend to overlook it.

 

:grin: Whatever you say mwc, It's a stick. Wow. My dog uses sticks too, to play with. Squirrels, birds, ants, ...and chimps. Bears use their own limbs to catch fish. Are they less intelligent?

 

 

 

 

Not "instinct." Taught and learned behavior. You missed it.

 

Same as any other animal. What about seeing eye dogs, or police dogs that can smell drugs? Instincts. Training and learned behavior by natural animal instinct.

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I can't tell if you think really highly of human beings or really lowly of everything else. Either way...I think you're wrong sir.

 

I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

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I can't tell if you think really highly of human beings or really lowly of everything else. Either way...I think you're wrong sir.

 

I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

 

You keep fighting...we'll keep winning. :)

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You keep fighting...we'll keep winning. :)

 

I will fight the obvious, that chimps are animals. Do you have a time machine? Quit talking smack, and lay something I haven't seen down on the table. :nono:

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I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

You're right, we're not.

 

Do you care to elaborate on that Hans? I thought chimps/apes were suppose to be some kind of link to humans evolution?

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I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

You're right, we're not.

 

Do you care to elaborate on that Hans? I thought chimps/apes were suppose to be some kind of link to humans evolution?

Seriously if you think it's such a ridiculous concept, then why are you talking about it? Why did you start a thread to bait us into talking about it? We aren't starting threads about creationism because it's just so fucking stupid that it doesn't DESERVE an ounce of our intellect. So really...what's the deal YoYo?

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Seriously if you think it's such a ridiculous concept, then why are you talking about it? Why did you start a thread to bait us into talking about it? We aren't starting threads about creationism because it's just so fucking stupid that it doesn't DESERVE an ounce of our intellect. So really...what's the deal YoYo?

 

Alot of people hold to this idea, of us being evolved from chimps. I saw an article about it, and decided to put my thoughts about it out there, because the article was geared toward the idea that these chimps were my great ancestors. i am defending that position as, yes, ridiculous, even with DNA similarities, tricks, whatever.

 

I just thought it would've been a good topic. Anyway, there have been topics debunking creationism as absurd, or talking about it. If it bothers you, maybe you should go to another thread?

 

If everybody thinks its bogus to say that humans evolved from chimps, then fine. Good. We all agree. Close thread.

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If everybody thinks its bogus to say that humans evolved from chimps, then fine. Good. We all agree. Close thread.

 

Obviously you are the only person on this thread that feels this way. Evolution is a fact with piles of evidence that you are just choosing to ignore.

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Obviously you are the only person on this thread that feels this way. Evolution is a fact with piles of evidence that you are just choosing to ignore.

 

Should I believe that I come from a chimp, just because people in the last few hundred years have 'created' the idea, and done tests. DNA, Hans said something about some type of vitamin deficiency, earlier in another thread; even though he seems to not want to discuss it. I just don't think that is enough for me to say, Yeah, we weren't created by God, we evolved from chimps?

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Seriously if you think it's such a ridiculous concept, then why are you talking about it? Why did you start a thread to bait us into talking about it? We aren't starting threads about creationism because it's just so fucking stupid that it doesn't DESERVE an ounce of our intellect. So really...what's the deal YoYo?

 

It's only bait to someone who feels they can be captured :wink: To someone firm in their concepts, and beliefs, it's just YoYo starting a thread about Chimps and Humans, and his opinion on it.

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Yoyo, you are a mammal. I know. I know. It's hard for some people to accept. But I think you'll be much happier when you do.

 

Embrace your mammalian nature.

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I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

You're right, we're not.

 

Do you care to elaborate on that Hans? I thought chimps/apes were suppose to be some kind of link to humans evolution?

The theory of evolution does not say we evolved from the apes or from chimps.

 

It say: we share heritage. We have a common ancestor.

 

Example: you and I are related, but you didn't evolve from me, neither did I evolve from you. But we share a common ancestor. In your case it would be Adam, right? The same with chimps and us, going backwards in time, there would be a pre-human, pre-chimp, which is the same one.

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The theory of evolution does not say we evolved from the apes or from chimps.

 

It say: we share heritage. We have a common ancestor.

 

Example: you and I are related, but you didn't evolve from me, neither did I evolve from you. But we share a common ancestor. In your case it would be Adam, right? The same with chimps and us, going backwards in time, there would be a pre-human, pre-chimp, which is the same one.

 

Alright. Thanks Hans. I see your point. I just thought it would be a good topic :grin: .....( YoYo..walking back to his corner :phew: )

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Yoyo, you are a mammal. I know. I know. It's hard for some people to accept. But I think you'll be much happier when you do.

 

Embrace your mammalian nature.

 

I know I'm classified as a mammal by science Legion :grin: But....I say I am a little different than most mammalians, Hence why I started this topic, which has been a bomb :unsure:

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Reading your later posts I'm not sure there's much point in responding to much of this. I'll start by saying we aren't evolved from chimps. The theory would have it that chimps/humans evolved from a common ancestor. We're related in the past but they took the left fork and we took the right. Their branch of ancestors then evolved based on whatever conditions they needed for the path they were on and we did likewise ending up where we are. This is a simple look at how it went but it's the basic premise. But it's important because if you don't get this concept then you'll always, wrongfully, think that humans came from something they did not (and whether you believe in creation or not if you want to understand the theory of evolution then you need to understand the ToE properly).

 

Alright, scratch keys, lets just say they revolt against the keeper? End up in the lobby or something. Why don't they do that?

Alright, lets do just this. Try simply Googling for "escape zoo chimp" and I think you'll happily note that there are numerous stories of chimps escaping zoos. Apparently, they do leave their pens in various ways with various end results. Now you can go ahead and attribute this to circumstance (which is what humans take advantage of when they make escapes) as opposed to pre-meditation.

 

Then how does this compare to other diseases from other animals, that humans can get? This Aids human /chimp connection is just a result of the DNA structure being similar, right?

Because it's the human (or chimp) form of the virus that is being passed back and forth and not a mutated variation. We're so alike the same disease is quite happy with either host. But I'm so different from a snake that it won't catch my cold.

 

The point is that, now, she is 9; and can speak in communication with other humans, solve math problems, get dressed by herself, ...and use tools!

And now you understand why your daughter is a human and a chimp is a chimp.

 

:grin: Whatever you say mwc, It's a stick. Wow. My dog uses sticks too, to play with. Squirrels, birds, ants, ...and chimps. Bears use their own limbs to catch fish. Are they less intelligent?

Does your dog use the stick as a tool? That's the question. Loosely (and this is also on wikipedia) a tool is a means to an end. I tried explaining it earlier using the hammer and the stick but you missed it. How about a string? Is that a tool? I happen to know you use strings with plumbs to make sure things are straight. To lay out lines. To measure. They're used in construction all the time. And you can tie with string. String is a tool. Put in a ball and a cat may play with it. So I guess it's just a toy. You're diminishing things because you want to.

 

Don't forget that early hammers would have been simply rocks. Spears were just pointy sticks. Later sharp rocks were tied to them. Clubs were just heavy chunks of wood which later had rocks tied to them (this is the basis of later hammers too). These are all tools. Every last one. And this list is so far from complete (or in any sort of real order) it's not even funny.

 

Same as any other animal. What about seeing eye dogs, or police dogs that can smell drugs? Instincts. Training and learned behavior by natural animal instinct.

Not the same at all. Do these animals pass these skills onto their young? No. They have a built in ability and that ability is exploited by us through training. If we could train one set and then leave them to train all the future dogs then I'd be right on board with you. But that just is not the case at all. These chimps figured out a way of doing things and they pass it on to their young. If I had to I'd compare it more to how I've seen cats teaching the young to hunt. If they don't get taught how to do that at a young age then that skill is lacking and someone must care for the animal. They may demonstrate hunting "traits" in their "play" but they never know how to truly hunt or kill after that (though the behavior we're talking about is more advanced than that but I'm not going to worry about that).

 

mwc

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Not the same at all. Do these animals pass these skills onto their young? No. They have a built in ability and that ability is exploited by us through training. If we could train one set and then leave them to train all the future dogs then I'd be right on board with you. But that just is not the case at all. These chimps figured out a way of doing things and they pass it on to their young. If I had to I'd compare it more to how I've seen cats teaching the young to hunt. If they don't get taught how to do that at a young age then that skill is lacking and someone must care for the animal. They may demonstrate hunting "traits" in their "play" but they never know how to truly hunt or kill after that (though the behavior we're talking about is more advanced than that but I'm not going to worry about that).

 

Seriously, mwc, I'm not trying to be sarcastic. My cat had kittens, she literally 'showed' them the litter box, and they started using it? Is that different from the chimps?

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I can't tell if you think really highly of human beings or really lowly of everything else. Either way...I think you're wrong sir.

 

I think humans are not evolved from chimps.

 

You are absoultly right, humans did not evolve from chimps. One more time, OK? HUMANS AND CHIMPS SHARE A COMMON ANCESTOR THAT BOTH SPECIES DESCENDED FROM!!!!

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