“Humans are not exceptional!” we are continually told. But then, scientists and/or advocates huff and puff to show how animals are just like us–and the media swoon.
This one made me laugh. CHIMPS CAN COOK, screamed the Guardian headline. From the story:
A study found that chimpanzees prefer the taste of cooked food, can defer gratification while waiting for it and even choose to hoard raw vegetables if they know they will have the chance to cook them later on.
The findings suggest that our earliest ancestors may have developed a taste for roast vegetables and grilled meat earlier than previously thought, potentially shifting the timeline for one of the critical transitions in human history.
Wow! So, given the chance, they cook?
No, they exchanged raw food for better tasting cooked food:
For safety reasons, this was a plastic lunchbox with a false bottom, which researchers used to “transform” raw sweet potato placed inside by the chimpanzees into a cooked slice of a similar size…
Overall, the apes chose cooked potato nearly 90% of the time when they were given a straight choice and they were nearly as keen when they had to wait one minute while it was “cooked” by the researcher (who shook the plastic box ten times).
The chimps continued to opt for the cooked option 60% of the time when they had to carry the food some distance in order to place it in the “oven” – although since they often carried it in their mouths this was a challenge and they sometimes appeared to eat the food on the way, “almost by accident”.
So, chimps don’t cook. Nor is there any evidence they have ever tried. They reacted to an unnatural situation set up by humans.
Of course, this means chimps are people too, or perhaps better stated, we are just chimps:
Dr Erica van de Waal, a psychologist at the University of St Andrews, said the findings add to the growing list of parallels that have been observed between human and ape behaviours. “The more we study our primate cousins, the more we realise that they have the bases of most of our cognitive abilities, including for language, culture and fairness,” she said.
Except they don’t have the actual abilities!
By they way, I don’t trust anything associated with Jane Goodall. She is an ideologue as much as a scientist and made up inner lives for the chimps she observed to make them seem more human.