Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Elsa Addessi, a researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies in Rome, Italy, has demonstrated a surprisingly advanced concept of numerosity in capuchin monkeys. The test subjects were given coins of differing "value," which could be traded for quantities of peanuts. While some of the animals showed preference for color or quantity, several were able to consistently maximize their payoff. While the monkeys are not technically adding, they are showing both the ability to understand the use of symbols and concepts like "more than" and "less than." This is still pretty impressive considering they diverged from us 65 million years ago.