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Chimps as good as college students in mental math

Chimps performed about as well as college students at mental addition, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a finding that suggests non-verbal math skills are not unique to humans.

The research from Duke University follows the finding by Japanese researchers earlier this month that young chimpanzees performed better than human adults at a memory game.


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Comments (10)

And perhaps this explains t... (Below threshold)

And perhaps this explains the reason the so-called Duke Lacrosse rape case got as far as it did. Faulty memories. . .

Obnoxious moonbat comments ... (Below threshold)

Obnoxious moonbat comments in 5-4-3-2...

Well, the study had more to... (Below threshold)

Well, the study had more to do with short term memory for numbers than mathematics. I bet a chimp wouldn't have trouble remembering whose comment was which number. However, college students might have a better advantage at a weekend caption contest...

Yeah, but did they turn out... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but did they turn out any good term papers? Did it take an infinite number of them to do so?

We alumni of other ACC scho... (Below threshold)

We alumni of other ACC schools have known this about Duke students for years.

That the skill sets of huma... (Below threshold)

That the skill sets of humans and chimps overlap should come as a suprise to nobody. I'm willing to reserve some of my skepticism for bad science reporting, but from most of what I've seen in the recent stories on these tests, they weren't done well or they weren't reported well.

The really interesting stuff would be finding the point where chimp skills on simple tests part ways from human results. I've seen nothing about that question so far, so either the science is bad, or it's the reporting.

Also, another story I read left the impression that the chimps received considerable training with the 'game' while the humans were tested on their first introduction to it. The chips, apparently, took considerable training just to be able to learn the behaviors expected of them.

Give humans a few weeks/months of training, would the results be the same? Would the results then be less meaningful? I'm all for the science here, I'm just not convinced that's what was conducted.

But were the Chimps full of... (Below threshold)

But were the Chimps full of beer and pizza?

Gotta love that when they n... (Below threshold)

Gotta love that when they needed to name poo-flinging monkeys, they turned to the legislators from California.

I heard an interview with o... (Below threshold)

I heard an interview with one of the researchers on NPR this morning. She said that the chimps scored about 75% while the students scored about 90%. (You can read the transcript here:

If Reuters realy thinks that 75% is doing "about as well" as 90%, maybe it's because they
floated through school with their "gentlemans' C".

But were the Chimps full... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

But were the Chimps full of beer and pizza?

Mellon: "Hey, it's okay! They're just taking a break, that's all!"

(Yes, I'm the only one who got the reference)






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