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J Comp Psychol. 2004 Jun;118(2):232-41.

Inferences about the location of food in the great apes (Pan paniscus, Pan troglodytes, Gorilla gorilla, and Pongo pygmaeus).

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Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.


Bonobos (Pan paniscus; n = 4), chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes; n = 12), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla; n = 8), and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus; n = 6) were presented with 2 cups (1 baited) and given visual or auditory information about their contents. Visual information consisted of letting subjects look inside the cups. Auditory information consisted of shaking the cup so that the baited cup produced a rattling sound. Subjects correctly selected the baited cup both when they saw or heard the food. Nine individuals were above chance in both visual and auditory conditions. More important, subjects as a group selected the baited cup when only the empty cup was either shown or shaken, which means that subjects chose correctly without having seen or heard the food (i.e., inference by exclusion). Control tests showed that subjects were not more attracted to noisy cups, avoided shaken noiseless cups, or learned to use auditory information as a cue during the study. It is concluded that subjects understood that the food caused the noise, not simply that the noise was associated with the food.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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