Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Monkeying Around With Puzzles Makes Chimps Happy

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

Chimpanzees don't need to be rewarded for playing with brainteasers. Like humans with a crossword puzzle, they're motivated by the challenge alone, new research finds.

Phil the chimpanzee plays with a puzzle at the Whipsnade Zoo.
CREDIT: Zoological Society of London 
For the study, published today (Feb. 23) in the American Journal of Primatology, researchers followed six chimpanzees at the Zoological Society of London's Whipsnade Zoo. Three of the chimps are half-brothers (Phil, Grant and Elvis), and their family group includes another male and two females.

Zookeepers gave the chimps a homemade puzzle made of plumbing pipes. Inside the network of pipes were two red dice. The chimps had to figure out where to poke sticks into holes in the pipes to get the dice to change directions and fall into an exit chamber. The game is based on the real-world task of using sticks to pull termites out of their nests as a snack.

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