Friday, 14 November 2014

Dogs Are Better Learners Than Chimps

Man’s best fried is a better learner than a chimp.

Joel Kontinen

A recent study compared the skills of human infants and chimpanzees in an attempt to explain why we are much better at learning – and building culture – than chimps.

According to an article in Live Science, Edwin van Leeuwen, a doctoral student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, and his colleagues “tested 23 German preschoolers and 14 chimpanzees, putting them both through almost identical experiments.”

They put three cups on a table. A reward – either a toy or food – was hidden under one of the cups. The children and the chimps were allowed to watch how the others fared in the test.

It was no surprise that the preschoolers did much better than the chimps. The apes seemed to be unable to learn from others but approached the test in a haphazard way.

”Chimps just aren't as motivated to learn from one another as humans are,” Live Science concludes.

Evolutionists used to believe – and some still do, despite the evidence – that chimps are almost humans.

Dogs are quite clever at finding such treats. Experiments have shown that they only need to take a look at the human experimenter to know where a potential treat is hidden.

This might be a big disappointment for ardent Darwinists, but in the real world dogs (as well as elephants and crows) are cleverer than apes.

While training might to some extent explain why dogs are clever, it is not to easy to say why a wild fox can be astoundingly intelligent and innovative.


Hare, Brian, Josep Call and Michael Tomasello. 1998. Communication of Food Location Between Human and Dog (Canis Familiaris). Evolution of Communication 2 (1): 137 –159.

Pappas, Stephanie. 2014. Why Chimps Haven't Evolved Culture Like Humans. Live Science (November 12).