Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Chimpanzees Lack Creative Skills

A new study shows that chimpanzees are not innovative. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Chimpanzees learn by imitating other chimps. They are able to teach their descendants how to crack nuts but their cultural achievements are mostly restricted to finding ways of getting food.

Recently, Andrew Whiten, a psychologist at St Andrew’s University in the UK, and Sarah Marshall-Pescini taught 11 young chimpanzees to lower a stick through a hole to scoop honey from a box. Five of the chimps succeeded in their attempts either independently or after watching the demonstration.

Next, Whiten and his colleagues showed the five chimpanzees how they could move the stick around the hole to release a latch that would open the box, making it easier for them to get at the honey and the peanuts hidden inside.

None of the chimpanzees were able to do it. "They didn't get it,” Whiten says. “They didn't show any kind of cumulative cultural evolution. "

In contrast, most three- and four-year old humans were able to open the box without much difficulty.

The study shows that there is an insurmountable chasm between humans and apes that cannot be explained away by Darwinian just so stories.

The answer is not blowing in the wind. It can be read on the opening pages of Genesis. God created man in His image. Like God, humans are capable of innovation. However, apes, like other animals, are not very good at inventing new strategies.


Callaway, Ewen. 2009. Apes may imitate but they struggle to innovate. New Scientist (22 July). http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17499-apes-may-imitate-but-they-struggle-to-innovate.html?full=true