Once upon a time, back in the 1970s when I was going to college and it was fashionable to either shove a safety pin through your ear or wear bell bottoms, many of us pretty much looked upon Bluto Blutarski as a role model and began and ended the day drunk and/or stoned. After a good number of years and a bazillion dollars spent on “straighten up and fly right” advertisements, it could be that we’re breeding a better, cleaner, smarter collegiate.
But I doubt it. And new research bears out my suspicions. Which is to say, chaps in white coats have found monkeys add up numbers just about as well as college students. And note the last line of the story.
DURHAM, N.C. – Researchers at Duke University have demonstrated that monkeys have the ability to perform mental addition, and that they performed about as well as college students given the same test.
Current evidence has shown that both humans and animals have the ability to mentally represent and compare numbers. For instance, animals, infants and adults can discriminate between four objects and eight objects.
However, until now it was unclear whether animals could perform mental arithmetic.
Elizabeth Brannon and Jessica Cantlon of the Duke Center for Cognitive Neuroscience said the findings shed light on the shared evolutionary origins of arithmetic ability in humans and non-human animals.
That monkeys and humans share the ability to add suggests that basic arithmetic may be part of a shared evolutionary past.
Earlier this month, Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won.
I rest my case.