Apes can’t recognise own faces in mirrorFebruary 26th, 2009 - 3:04 pm ICT by ANI
London, Feb 26 (ANI): Unlike chimpanzees, orang-utans and gorillas, apes do not recognise their own face in a mirror, a new study has found.
According to scientists, the lack of self-recognition in gibbons and other lesser apes indicates that the mental capacity emerged 14 to 18 million years ago when their evolutionary lineage split from great apes, reports New Scientist.
“We can reason about the mind of an ancestor without even laying eyes on the fossil,” says Thomas Suddendorf, a psychologist at the University of Queensland, Australia, who led the study.
Earlier studies had suggested that gibbons don’t recognise their own mug, but those studies examined only a handful of animals of just one species of gibbon, Suddendorf said.
To put an end to the speculation, he and colleague Emma Collier-Baker studied 17 different captive gibbons belonging to three out of the four existing genera.
The research team tested self-recognition by first letting the gibbons lick tasty cake icing off their own limbs. They then painted a stripe of the same colour down the apes’ faces.
With at least five hours in front of a large mirror in their enclosure, gibbons did examine the reflection and touch the glass, yet none used it to inspect whether the stripe might offer a further treat. Sometimes they even tried to reach around the mirror as if to touch a gibbon on the other side.
One ape discovered the mark while scratching, but paid no more attention to it after he returned to the mirror.
According to Suddendorf, apes didn’t seem to have an idea that there is what looks like icing on their own face.
“This is a nice, very detailed study, but confirms what we thought already, which is that these animals don’t have mirror self-recognition,” says Frans de Waal, a primatologist at Yerkes Primates Center and Emory University in Atlanta, US.
The study has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)
- Humans mimic orang-utan moves in free running - Feb 27, 2012
- Like humans, Orang-utans too can perform "pantomimes" - Aug 11, 2010
- Like humans, gibbons have regional accents too - Feb 07, 2011
- How human laughter is different from that of apes - Jul 21, 2010
- Just like humans, apes suffer self-doubt too - Apr 19, 2010
- Eco-tourism can stress wild orangutans - Mar 19, 2012
- Chimps happy to help - but only when said please to! - Oct 14, 2009
- Like in humans, culture influences ape behaviour - Oct 21, 2011
- Male chimps can recognise females just by looking at their butts! - Sep 23, 2008
- 'Energy efficient' orangutans need less food fuel than we do - Aug 03, 2010
- Like humans, monkeys can recognize themselves in mirrors - Sep 30, 2010
- Chimps' contagious yawning a sign of empathy, not just sleepiness - Apr 07, 2011
- Great apes too make sophisticated decisions - Dec 30, 2011
- 'Promiscuous' chimps produce more sperm - Feb 17, 2011
- Orangutans are smart designers: Study - Apr 18, 2012
Tags: cake icing, chimpanzees, emory university, evolutionary lineage, gibbon, gibbons, gorillas, lesser apes, london feb, million years, mirror self, new scientist, primates, primatologist, proceedings of the royal society, proceedings of the royal society b, self recognition, tasty cake, university of queensland, university of queensland australia