Primates, figuring things out

19 June 2013 by Kerstin Hoppenhaus, posted in Social Cognition

Another day of testing in the ape house. Sebastian, Shona’s assistent for this day, prepares a new set of grapes. The first round with Kofi and Lobo, two young male chimps, went fairly well. They were excited and engaged in the task and not the least bit flustered by their repeated failure to get to the grapes.

The second round with Swela and Corrie was quite the opposite. Both chimp ladies weren’t terribly interested in the whole grape thing to begin with, and after a while Swela preferred to take a nap on her rag, while Corrie (very literally) sat in a corner and ate shit.

Chimp Swela (image ©MPI-EVA)

Also, the apparatus is still not working properly. Shona shows the videos of the tests to Raik, the project engineer, and they discuss how to improve the setup. All this, they tell me, is well in the range of normal. It takes a lot of trial and error on both sides, before, eventually, they will get it right.

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