A new study, aimed at testing the memory skills of chimps and bonoboshas found that the animals become very engrossed in movies that feature human characters dressed in ape suits.
The primates were tested to see if they could anticipate and remember the memorable events that they saw on screen. They aced the tests, even if they watched the film only once.
The findings, published in the latest issue of the journal Current Biology, found that the six chimps and two bonobos got so engrossed in the films featuring humans dressed in chimp suits, that they couldn’t be distracted, even by their favourite food.
Fumihiro Kano of Kyoto University, Japan, said in a press release: “We were giving juice while showing the videos to them, but some of them even forgot to drink juice and stared at the movies!”
Kano created two short films. The first film feature an aggressive person in an ape suit, who comes out from one of two identical doors. In the second film, a human actor grabs one of two objects and attacks the ape-like character with it
An eye tracker showed that the mammals anticipated the events in the movie, even after watching it only once.
They directed their view towards the door on the second viewing of the film, where they knew the human in an ape suit would appear.
When they re-watched the second film, they looked towards the object that would be used as a weapon, even if it was placed in a different place.
This means that they stored knowledge of the films into their long-term memory, much like humans do, and can use that information to anticipate events.