Orangutans, Creatures of Culture and Learning


Thu, Sep 18th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Ferris Jabber of The New Yorker, orangutans are actually pretty smart — and by smart, he means smart like you and me. Reportedly, the animals are resourceful, they're capable of reason, of cultural learning, and are even self-aware.

Compared with chimpanzees, which are highly excitable, orangutans seem far more sober and considerate. They move deliberately and often spend a good deal of time silently watching before deciding how to act. At Camp Leakey, the orangutans had plenty of opportunity to observe and imitate people. They soon developed a habit of stealing canoes, paddling them downriver, and abandoning them at their destinations. Even triple and quadruple knots in the ropes securing the canoes to the dock did not deter the apes. Over the years, they have also learned to brush their teeth, bathe themselves, wash clothes, weed pathways, wield saws and hammers, and soak rags in water in order to cool their foreheads with them. And they have done all of this without any instruction.



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