posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 09:09 PM
This is clearly not a question of de-evolution. I was discussing this very news with my roommate yesterday, as he had come across an alternate
coverage of the event. Someone had apparently speculated (and forgive the lack of links) that the (apparent) difference in memory efficiency -- so to
speak -- might have something to do with human use of language. Upon further discussion, my friend and I concluded that while language allowed us to
interact with a wider variety of objects, it allows us to store larger amounts of data in more abstract forms. For instance, the word "knife"
conjures images of a "blade" (short, flat metal object that is sharpened on one side) and a correspondingly short "handle" (insert other
description here). Another direct example is any wikipedia article; the definition paragraph is usually riddled with links to articles that explain
several words in it.
A chimp can be taught to interact with a .44 caliber pistol. However, the chimp might not be able to associate the pistol with an AK47 rifle --
would, because we can associate both items under the title "gun". Other primates -- specifically, the ones referenced in the
article -- may not have a need to interact with as much data as we do. As such, they can afford to efficiently store information or patterns, and win
little tests like this.
Also, these were 5 year old chimps. It may be a matter of personal opinion that they are better at storing information, as they (currently) have less
old data to interfere with new data. Compare to test subjects, who are college students -- obviously with a lot more on their mind, so to speak.
I conclude with a summary of my post; this research is not indicative of de-evolution, but rather should open up further research on the nature of
memories and information storage, and the processes involved in both.
P/S -- I didn't mean to sound like an asshole. So I came back to add this:
Cheers! And thanks for the topic.
[edit on 12/4/2007 by Mr Jackdaw]