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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 27;5(8):e12438. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012438.

Differences in the cognitive skills of bonobos and chimpanzees.

Author information

1
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany. eherrman@eva.mpg.de

Abstract

While bonobos and chimpanzees are both genetically and behaviorally very similar, they also differ in significant ways. Bonobos are more cautious and socially tolerant while chimpanzees are more dependent on extractive foraging, which requires tools. The similarities suggest the two species should be cognitively similar while the behavioral differences predict where the two species should differ cognitively. We compared both species on a wide range of cognitive problems testing their understanding of the physical and social world. Bonobos were more skilled at solving tasks related to theory of mind or an understanding of social causality, while chimpanzees were more skilled at tasks requiring the use of tools and an understanding of physical causality. These species differences support the role of ecological and socio-ecological pressures in shaping cognitive skills over relatively short periods of evolutionary time.

PMID:
20806062
PMCID:
PMC2929188
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0012438
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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