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Selasa, 14 April 2009

Chimps beat college students in memory test



When chimpanzees and university students went head-to-head in a short-term memory test, the chimps scored higher. The study was led by a Kyoto, Japan scientist who has studied the cognitive abilities of primates for 30 years.
In a recent study a Japanese researcher used short-term memory tests to compare the cognitive abilities between chimps and college students. The chimps won. Tetsuro Matsuzawa, director of the Primate Research Institute at Japan’s Kyoto University, has been studying chimpanzees and chimpanzee communities for 30 years.
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In his official bio at the university he compares the genomic difference between humans as comparable to the difference between horses and zebras and suggests humans are “98.77% chimpanzee.” He has long made the case that humans and chimpanzees are close genetic relatives and that they should co-exist peacefully.
To demonstrate their cognitive strengths, Matsuzawa taught three chimps, ages one through five, to recognize numbers one through nine. The test involved random flashing numbers on a touch screen computer. After a fraction of a second, the numbers were masked by white squares. The chimps were able to remember the location of up to eight of the numbers, and touch the spot where they had appeared in the correct order. But the college undergrads who volunteered for the study could only accurately recall the location of up to five numbers.
Matsuzawa opposes the use of primates in biomedical research and helped launch SAGA (Support for African/Asian Great Apes) in 1998. SAGA promotes conservation of chimpanzee, gorilla and orangutan natural habitats and supports non-invasive scientific inquiry.

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