Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Chimp Planned Attack
A canny chimpanzee who calmly collected a stash of rocks and then hurled them at zoo visitors in fits of rage has confirmed that apes can plan ahead just like humans, a Swedish study says.
Santino the chimpanzee's anti-social behaviour stunned both visitors and keepers at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully prepared.
According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his enclosure. He waited until about midday before he unleashed a "hailstorm" of rocks against visitors, the study said.
"These observations convincingly show that our fellow apes do consider the future in a very complex way," said the author of the report, Lund University PhD student Mathias Osvath. "It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including lifelike mental simulations of potential events."
Here he is preparing for Phase II, "The Surge."