Chimps 'solve puzzles just for fun' like humans


Chimps love to solve tricky puzzles and get a similar sense of satisfaction as humans who complete crosswords, a new study has found.

Scientists set up a challenge for six chimpanzees at Whipsnade Zoo Bedfordshire using plumbing pipes from a DIY

store. The challenge involved moving red dice through a

network of pipes until they fell into an exit chamber.

This could only be achieved by the chimps prodding sticks

into holes in the pipes to change the direction of the dice.

The same task was also carried out with Brazil nuts, but

the exit chamber removed so that the nuts fell out as a tasty

treat for the chimps, according to the study published by the

Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

"We noticed that the chimps were keen to complete the

puzzle regardless of whether or not they received a food

reward. This strongly suggests they get similar feelings of

satisfaction to humans who often complete brain games for a

feel-good reward," ZSL researcher Fay Clark said.

The adult family group of chimpanzees at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

consist of two females and four males, three of which are

half-brothers: Phil, Grant and Elvis.

This study allowed them to solve a novel cognitive problem

in their normal social grouping, by choice. In addition, the

chimpanzees were not trained on how to use the device.

"For chimps in the wild, this task is a little bit like

foraging for insects or honey inside a tree stump or a termite

mound; except more challenging because the dice do not stick to the tool," Fay said in a statement.

The chimps took part in the cognitive challenge as part of

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