A chimpanzee at Sweden’s Furuvik Zoo has been observed chipping at concrete to create discs to throw at visitors. He even made weapons at night to throw at visitors when the zoo opens in the morning.
While Santino the chimp’s retaliatory ways are amusing, they’ve also impressed scientists who believe this is the first evidence of a non-human animal being capable of making plans for the future.
“It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including life-like mental simulations of potential events,” said Mathias Osvath, a scientist who studied Santino for over a decade. “They most probably have an ‘inner world’ like we have when reviewing past episodes of our lives or thinking of days to come. I would guess that they plan much of their everyday behaviour.”
Osvath’s observations are only one of many studies that show that non-human primates are capable of some human-like thought. Another recent study showed baboons are capable of matching pictures and recognizing objects.
Unfortunately for Santino, the zoo didn’t think his stone-throwing ways were very cute. They’ve castrated the 31-year-old chimp, thinking it may lower his hormone levels and make him less aggressive.
The Humane Society of the United States along with other wildlife protection groups are working to pass the Great Ape Protection Act in the US. They recently exposed the horrible conditions that 300 chimpanzees live under inside a pharmaceutical lab in Louisiana. Is it not abundantly clear that these animals deserve to be treated with more respect?
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