Dec 3, 2007

chimps with "photographic memory"

Watch out! Not only can these chimps count, but they can beat a college student at a memory test. Of course, there's the obligatory knock-the-humans-off-their-perch component:
The finding challenges human assumptions about our uniqueness, and should make us think harder about ourselves in relation to other animals, says anthropologist Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University, Ames, US.

“Observing that other species can outperform us on tasks that we assume we excel at is a bit humbling,” she says. “Rather than taking such findings as a rare example or a fluke, we should incorporate this knowledge into a mindset that acknowledges that chimpanzees – and probably other species – share aspects of what we think of as uniquely human intelligence.”
I think it does more to expose the underestimation of animal intelligence than the proper estimation of human worth. As I've argued before, bumping into someone as smart as I doesn't reduce my dignity. To quote myself, "Moral worth isn't zero-sum."

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