Discovery News, Jennifer Viegas, June 20, 2008
What goes on in an ape's mind might be more similar to our own way of thinking than previously realized, suggests a new study that found chimpanzees and orangutans plan for their futures.
Since this skill also entails forethought involving self-control and mental time travel, the findings point to a complex "inner mental world" possessed by apes, including gorillas, which were studied in trials before the official research began.
"When humans shut their eyes, a new vivid world takes hold," co-author Mathias Osvath told Discovery News.
"This mental world with its first-person perspective has been suggested to be unique to humans," added Osvath of Lunds University Cognitive Science in Sweden. "It is arguably impossible to plan like the apes do without having an inner world of some sort. (Our results) strongly imply a consciousness that many think is restricted to the human domain."