Against The Odds: Apes can gamble like humans by calculating chances
Published 30/12/2011 | 11:07
APES are capable of gambling in a similar way to humans, a study claims.
Research indicates that the animals are also able to calculate the odds before taking risks.
Experts observed apes as they gambled using upturned cups concealing pieces of chopped banana.
Given the choice of a safe bet of a small piece of banana or a larger chunk of fruit hidden beneath one of a selection of shuffled cups, the apes chose to gamble more than 50pc of the time.
The team, led by Daniel Haun of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics found that they were also able to identify when the odds were stacked against them and when it was wiser to go with the safe bet.
As more cups were added and the odds became worse, the apes become more cautious.
The ability is shared by chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans, researchers said, although chimps and orang-utans were found to be more prolific risk-takers.
“Our study adds to the growing evidence that the mental life of the other great apes is much more sophisticated than is often assumed,” said Mr Haun.