Dogs understand men better than chimps

Chimpanzees are considered as the closest living relatives of humans, but the apes do not understand us as well as our best friend dogs do, a new study has found.

The study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, found that chimpanzees could care less when people pointed to objects, but dogs paid attention and knew precisely what the person wanted.

“We think that we are looking at a special adaptation in dogs to be sensitive to human forms of communication,” study co-author Juliane Kaminski, a cognitive psychologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said.

Dogs may even be born with this inherent gift, since six-week-old puppies with no major training possess it.

For the study, Kaminski and her team compared how well chimps and dogs understood human pointing. If the chimp or dog retrieved the object — which is out of reach of the human but within reach of the animals — they would be rewarded with a tasty food treat.

The chimps bombed, ignoring the human gestures, even though they were interested and motivated to get the food rewards. But the dogs aced the test, the researchers said.

The chimpanzees did not see the pointing as important to their goal of getting the food, so they simply ignored the people during the study, they said.

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