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Science

Chimps Have a Built-In GPS 195

Posted by kdawson
from the please-return-to-the-highlighted-route dept.
destinyland writes "European researchers have discovered that chimpanzees have a built-in mental GPS, keeping 'a geometric mental map of their home range, moving from point to point in nearly straight lines.' Using GPS, two primatologists followed 15 chimpanzees for 217 days, and determined that the apes were 'using a mental map built around geometric coordinates.' They're not just identifying landmarks in their surroundings, and in fact, even when swinging through trees, the chimps planned out their route several trees in advance. Here's the paper in the journal Animal Behavior."
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Chimps Have a Built-In GPS

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  • Does this mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SnarfQuest (469614) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @05:49PM (#27319571)

    With this built-in GPS, would chimp-mounted lasers be more accurate than shark-mounted ones?

  • by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @05:57PM (#27319761)

    Maybe it's just that people writing these summaries and/or articles haven't the faintest clue how GPS operates. It's just a magical box on their dashboard that can figure out a route from A to B, so when <other creature/object X> can plan a route from one point to another, it must be similar, right?

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @06:20PM (#27320215) Homepage

    It's not just what GPS stands for, either. Not every positioning system that works globally is GPS. Yeah, I'm being pedantic, but "GPS" really is supposed to indicate the particular system, not just any system.

    So saying chimps have built-in GPS because they can navigate is a little like saying they have built-in Canon Powershot cameras because they can see.

  • Re:Pay per Paper (Score:1, Interesting)

    by arminw (717974) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @11:18PM (#27324399)

    ....can find its way back to that spot, much like most other mammals....

    The Golden Plover raises its young in Alaska but the young birds find their way across thousands of miles of ocean to Hawaii where they spend the winter. These young birds have NEVER been to Hawaii, yet know how to find the tiny spot in the middle of the huge Pacific ocean. Biologists tell us that mammals are supposed to be smarter than birds which have a very undeserved reputation for being dumb bird brains. Even insects, such as butterflies accomplish similar navigation feats. How do evolutionists explain this?

  • Re:Pay per Paper (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:49AM (#27326685)

    How do we explain what? Your ignorance of zoology that allows you to believe mammals are somehow "supposed to be" smarter than birds? Explain how you got the idea that birds have a reputation for being stupid?

    Sorry, it's not our job to explain that sort of stuff.

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