Anorak

Anorak | Simian Says

Simian Says

by | 30th, March 2006

‘NEWS now that will certainly be of interest to celebrity mums, like actress Amanda Holden who holds newborn daughter Alexa Louise Florence Hughes up so the Mail’s readers can get a good look at her.

‘Look eveyone! She’s got opposable thumbs!’

Sure, the little love is, as Holden says she is, “the most beautiful, gorgeous, perfect little thing”. But she is about as bright as a tapeworm.

This is not our view but that of scientists at St Andrews University. It is lucky young Alexa is so truly awesome to behold, nothing less than the best, because in life’s tough jungle she is about to be outwitted by a chimpanzee.

Scientists took a group of chimps aged from two to six and a group of children aged between three and four and gave them a test to puzzle out.

Each was given a locked box containing either a sticker or a piece of food. The scientists showed the children and chimps how to open it. All aped the instructors’ moves.

But when the box was replaced by another transparent box, things changed. The children continued to do as instructed. The chimps noticed a faster way inside and improvised.

While this suggests that the likes of, say, Alexa and any number of Jakes and Armanis are a chimp’s inferiors, it might not be all bad.

The children’s way will stand them in good stead. As Professor Andrew Whiten, who led the research, says: “Imitation is quicker because it provides a ready-made solution to the problem.”

So let us take another look at young Alexa, and realise that getting a chunk of banana out of a box will not enable her to be just like her mum. It will undoubtedly help, but she needs more.

She needs a blonde hair-do, lots of brilliant white teeth, a celebrity lover – and to remember to never work with chimpanzees…’



Posted: 30th, March 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink