Whatever makes you feel better.
[via New Scientist] YOU might not expect the UK’s Astronomer Royal to make too many pronouncements about what chimpanzees think, but that is one of Martin Rees’s favourite topics. He reckons we can learn a lesson from what they understand about the world – or, rather, what they don’t. “A chimpanzee can’t understand quantum mechanics,” Rees points out.
That might sound like a statement of the obvious. After all, as Richard Feynman famously said, nobody understands quantum mechanics. The point, though, is that chimps don’t even know what they don’t understand. “It’s not that a chimpanzee is struggling to understand quantum mechanics,” Rees says. “It’s not even aware of it.” The question that intrigues Rees is whether there are facets of the universe to which we humans are similarly oblivious. “There is no reason to believe that our brains are matched to understanding every level of reality,” he says. [Read More]
Much like our evolutionary friends (chimps), I think our awareness starts internally and then extends externally to that which we feel COMFORTABLE knowing.
So I don’t think I would venture so far as to say that we humans have a ‘leg up’ by any means.
[via Physorg] Chimpanzees are self-aware and can anticipate the impact of their actions on the environment around them, an ability once thought to be uniquely human, according to a study released Wednesday.
The findings, reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, challenge assumptions about the boundary between human and non-human, and shed light on the evolutionary origins of consciousness, the researchers said.
The most common experiment consisted of marking an animal with paint in a place — such as the face — that it could only perceive while looking at its reflection.
If the ape sought to touch or wipe off the mark while facing a mirror, it showed that the animal recognised itself.
And because it’s not, wouldn’t the obvious assumption then follow that there exists more than we could ever hope to be able to one day comprehend, whether it be discoveries made in quantum physics, personalities in animals or what WE say is decidedly HUMAN intelligence?
I guess what bugs me the most about THIS question, is that for some reason when it comes to science…
Figuring stuff like this out?
Turns into an intelligence of convenience.
Chimpanzees in the wild deactivate traps. While studying the social behavior of primates in Africa, Japanese primatologists Mr. Gaku Ohashi and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa discovered that wild chimpanzees living in Bassou, Guinea have learned to recognize and deactivate snare traps set by human hunters. More surprisingly, the scientists found that the chimps actually seek out these traps to deactivate them without being injured! This behavior has kept the Bassou population relatively uninjured, compared to many others where chimps are sadly hurt or killed in the snare traps. The study also mentioned that the knowledge is passed down through generations, with one case where a juvenile male observed an adult male deactivating a snare before moving closer to handle it.
In all honesty…
I don’t think humans are quite as unique (as a creation of Mother Nature) that we like to think we are.
But one thing I know…
It’s easier (i.e. more comfortable) for us to believe than for us to understand the opposite is more likely true.
Our place at the ‘top of the food chain’…
More tenuous (thanks to science) than most of us realize.