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Chimps Have a Built-In GPS 195

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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  • Pay per Paper (Score:5, Informative)

    by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @05:24PM (#27318883)
    From the 2nd link: "Price: US $ 31.50". Sounds like another slashvertorial. No thanks, chimps.
  • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @05:40PM (#27319333) Journal

    Yeah - TFA says the chimps kept mental maps of their surroundings, and it was the researchers that used GPS because it all looked like jungle to them. That's different from migratory birds or insects which apparently use magnetic fields or sunlight angles for navigation.

  • Re:Chimp Satellites (Score:3, Informative)

    by spacefight ( 577141 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @05:53PM (#27319665)
    Some time ago... http://www.ape-o-naut.org/famous/ [ape-o-naut.org]
  • Re:Devolution (Score:3, Informative)

    by NewbieProgrammerMan ( 558327 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @06:08PM (#27319993)

    It probably has something to do with our chimp cousins living in an environment that requires more day-to-day use of navigation. Survival might require remembering that there are predators or chimps you don't get along with in area A, or knowing that you better be careful in area B because you've fallen several times after grabbing rotten or slippery branches/vines there.

    Your ex-girlfriends probably didn't have any reason to attach negative survival consequence to getting lost on a short walk, so not much energy was allocated to developing excellent navigation skills. That's just my wild guess, though.

    [insert joke here about girlfriends gaining positive reproductive consequences by "getting lost" while taking a short walk to visit their Slashdotter boyfriend]

  • by Chris Mattern ( 191822 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @06:44PM (#27320763)

    Bullshit summary again. Or maybe bullshit article. Who cares? After a while, you don't bother.

    Bullshit summary. Article just said that researchers used GPS to keep track of where they were while following the chimps around. I'm going to have to see if I can just filter out kdawson's articles.

  • Re:Pay per Paper (Score:3, Informative)

    by destinyland ( 578448 ) on Tuesday March 24, 2009 @08:12PM (#27322373)
    Hey! My original submission just linked to this entirely different web site instead. [hplusmagazine.com]

    After reading that article, I went the extra mile to dig up the original research paper, because I thought it would make it more authoritative.
  • Re:Pay per Paper (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:13AM (#27324835)

    Magnetic field lines are one of science's best guesses for this. Birds have been shown to be able to orient to magnetic north, so they know which direction they're flying at all times. What's more, they can identify their latitude by judging how long it takes to cross the Earth's field lines.

    More information:
    Newscientist article [newscientist.com]

    Hey, you asked...

  • Re:Pay per Paper (Score:3, Informative)

    by radtea ( 464814 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @09:15AM (#27328389)

    How do evolutionists explain this?

    By investigating the detailed empirical facts of the species in question, including genetic histories of specific species, relations between species sharing similar abilities, physiological and neurological studies of the guidance process in different species, hormonal studies of the seasonal triggers for migration in different species, and careful field observation of bird behaviour, including quantitative estimation of rates and kinds of navigational failure, in different species.

    Every occurrence of terms "genetic" and "species" in the above is a point where the process of interpreting the data is informed by evolutionary theory. No other known theory can give the kind of detailed guidance and coherence that evolutionary theory gives, which is why no scientists working on problems like this have any use for alternative theories. If an alternative theory was able to provide the same kind of consistent, over-arching interpretive framework that evolution by variation and natural selection does, and had the same kind of compelling empirical and logical foundations that evolution by variation and natural selection does, scientists would be happy to use it.

On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli