Great apes can read minds: research

Great apes can read minds: research

Some great apes, such as chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos, are much more like human being than previously thought, a new study conducted by Duke University researchers suggested.

Like humans, the great apes have fingers, toes and forward facing eyes. In addition, they have the ability to use tools. Now, the new study suggested that the great apes have the key cognitive ability to ‘read minds’.

According to the study, published in the journal Science, one of the key factors in human cognitive development is the ability to tell others’ mistaken beliefs. This ability helps humans to empathize with others, and it is typically developed by the age of 5. It is paramount to humans’ ability to develop all relationships with other humans.

The great ape study conducted over numerous years revealed that the researchers concluded that chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos can determine what others might know and what they want. They concluded that these great apes have a limited ability to “read” others’ minds.

Christopher Krupenye, one of the co-authors of the paper, said, “This cognitive ability is at the heart of so many human social skills. Like many of us, great apes love a good drama. When there’s confrontation between individuals, they’re curious about what will happen next.”

Duke University researchers conducted the great ape study in partnership with Kyoto University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

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