Gorillas CHEAT just like humans: Scientists discover apes engage in underhand moves and clever tactics to get their own way
- Gorillas at Bristol zoo have demonstrated the ability to knowingly cheat
- Scientists say they’ve seen ‘seen a lot of cheating behaviour’ from the animals
- The gorillas were presented with a wall-mounted device that spat out a peanut
- The animals were seen trying to suck out extra peanuts out of the game
Gorillas at Bristol Zoo have spotted evidence of gorillas cheating in a human-like manner.
The human-like behaviour was observed as part of a game dreamt up by scientists studied the behaviour of the apes.
Gorillas were presented with a wall-mounted device where the aim is to guide a peanut through a series of obstacles by poking a stick through various holes to move it along.
Eventually the peanut reaches the bottom of the device and drops out and some of the animals figured out an easier way to retrieve the nut.
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Gorillas at a zoo in England have demonstrated a distinctly human trait while attempting to solve a new puzzle game – cheating (stock)
‘We’ve seen a lot of cheating behaviour where they’ve been putting their lips up against the device and sucking the nut out which was not how we intended the device to be used.
But it just shows you that they’re very flexible, they’re capable of creating new solving strategies to access the food,’ Dr Fay Clark from Bristol Zoo Gardens told Reuters.
‘They have some fascinating problem-solving abilities that have probably not been witnessed before,’ she added.
Since first being introduced to the prototype device earlier this year, the scientists say the game has proved a hit with the troop of endangered western lowland gorillas, who regularly returned to play with the game even when there were no more nuts to win.
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The ‘Gorilla Game Lab’ project from the University of Bristol and Bristol Zoological Society developed the game to encourage the gorillas’ cognitive and puzzle-solving abilities.
The prototype device had to be strong enough to withstand a frustrated gorilla, which can be seven times stronger than humans.
It also had to be engaging enough to keep them coming back for more.
‘With each of the modules in the game, they’re removable so we can take the modules out, re-designed them and put in an additional module or change the actual structure,’ said engineer Dr Stuart Gray of the University of Bristol.
‘So it creates an endless stream of new and novel puzzles for them to solve.’
Gorillas were presented with a wall-mounted device that spat out a peanut The animals were seen trying to suck out extra peanuts
Since first being introduced to the prototype device earlier this year, the scientists say the game has proved a hit with the troop of endangered western lowland gorillas
WHO IS SMARTER: CHIMPS OR CHILDREN?
Most children surpass the intelligence levels of chimpanzees before they reach four years old.
A study conducted by Australian researchers in June 2017 tested children for foresight, which is said to distinguish humans from animals.
The experiment saw researchers drop a grape through the top of a vertical plastic Y-tube.
They then monitored the reactions of a child and chimpanzee in their efforts to grab the grape at the other end, before it hit the floor.
Because there were two possible ways the grape could exit the pipe, researchers looked at the strategies the children and chimpanzees used to predict where the grape would go.
The apes and the two-year-olds only covered a single hole with their hands when tested.
But by four years of age, the children had developed to a level where they knew how to forecast the outcome.
They covered the holes with both hands, catching whatever was dropped through every time.
While the main aim of the project is to create a ‘positive psychological state of pleasure and satisfaction in the gorillas’, the researchers are already setting their sights on more advanced models that would help zookeepers better understand both the mental and physical condition of the animal.
‘Things like eyesight, hearing, other cognitive functions – all of these could be measurable further on down the line,’ added Dr Gray.
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