Friday, October 03, 2008

They Don't All Look Alike to Each Other: One Chimpanzee Knows

AnotherChimpanzee When They See One!

Chimpanzees can identify their friends just by looking at their appearance. Once a chimpanzee gets familiar with another chimpanzee, they can tell who is who. In a recently experiment, a captive chimpanzee was able to identify his/her friends face by looking at their photos.
How can chimpanzees distinguish their friends so easily? Most animals can distinguish their relatives or close friends through recognition of body parts and sounds, such as voice, hands or other parts of body they may be familiar with. But most animals cannot identify their friends solely through facial recognition.
However, once chimpanzees get familiar with an individual they can tell that who that individual chimpanzee is just by looking at him/her. Unlike there other animal counterparts, chimpanzees can integrate a whole body image. That is why they can so easily identify their friends. One more interestingthing, chimpanzees also can distinguish their friends by checking out the shape of their butts. Hmm, it seems they can tell who you are whether you are coming or going!

Posted by So Jin Lee (3)

Chimps also have an ability to match strangers; the primates could have been merely picking up on genetic or physical clues to link faces and rear ends. However, there is no convincing evidence exist. According to this experiment, chimps got advantage from their nude bodies. There is also scent on a chimp, but sometimes it is easier to tell chimps apart by their swellings than by their faces so in this case it makes a lot of sense that they had be able to recognize each other visually by this signal rather than smell. The rear end recognition in chimps is highly visual because of swollen, pink, and hairless tissues that are uniquely shaped in individual animals. In addition, chimps can determine other’s gender by looking at the photo like human. This phenomenon has also been seen in humans who were flashed pictures of faces stripped of obvious gender clues, like hair. In this part of experiment chimps are able to distinguish a familiar individual gender faster than unfamiliar individual like human.


At 12:50 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This is just like humans. It makes sense that chimpanzees would recognize other chimps the same way humans recognize other humans. Very interesting topic!

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would make sense in the primate world. We notice certain features in our couterparts, so I would imagine they would too.

Duy Nguyen

At 10:18 AM, Blogger PWH said...

I am not suprised that chimpanzees are able to recognize other chimps by facial recognition because they resemble humans and our abilities in so many ways. Do you think that this ability would be beneficial for them in the wild? I wonder if most animals have this ability as well if they can recognize that they know another animal of their kind before any other senses come into play. I also wonder, overall what is the sense that animals rely on the most? Is it sight, smell, or sound? What do you think? I imagine that it would be difficult to test facial recognition in most all other animals because chimpanzees are so much more advanced in their learning and communication abilities with humans. Do you know of any other studies where they have tried this with any other animals?

Posted by: Lindsay Goodyear

At 11:07 AM, Blogger PWH said...

I always love to hear about chimpanzees. It is so interesting how similar they are to humans. How exactly did they study this? Also, facial recognition for humans is in the fusiform gyrus, what part of the brain is responsible for facial recognition in chimps?

Chantal Gomes

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if that recognition ability uses the same parts of the brain that humans use? Be neat to know what parts of the monkey's brain is more active allowing them to beat humans.

Allan Eldridge

At 2:42 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Considering how social chimpanzees are as a species it is not surprising that they would evolve to be able to facially recognize one another. It must be an indispensable tool in forming coalitions and interacting with one another. I wonder how important other senses such as smell are to them in recognizing one another?

-Benjamin Spozio

At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is funny that chimps can match their friends rear-ends with their faces. It does make sense that they can only recognize chimps they know well though because if they didn't know the chimp how could they possibly know what their faces and butts looked like? I wonder what else chimps use to recognize other chimps though. Do visual cues play most of the role in how they recognize their friends or does smell and touch play a more important role? I always though smell was the major sense in animals for just about everything. Interesting to think about.

-posted by Julie Riley

At 4:26 PM, Blogger PWH said...

Chimpanzees never cease to amaze me. This is very interesting because there are many people that I know, that I can recognize from a very long distance away just by the way they walk, and I have terrible vision. Is movement recognition something else the chimpanzees analyze?

-Kiel Boutelle

At 7:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was an interesting entry. I really wasn't aware that chimpanzees were able to use facial recognition to distinguish their friends. As humans we do that all the time but you would never assume that chimpanzee were able to do the same thing. Sometimes I think we forget that chimps are smart animals and that some of us underestimate their abilities. I was wondering how long does it take for a chimp to familiarize himself with the physical attributes of another chimp to enable himself to distinguish between each of his friends?

- Debbie Theodat

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article. I am impressed with this ability the chimps have. I wonder if put to the test chimps could recognize humans by simply a photo. Also i was wondering how did they actually conduct the experiment?
-Alex Pavidapha

At 8:48 PM, Blogger PWH said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger PWH said...

The complex social structure has a deja vu like symmetry to ours. I wonder if the researchers mentioned the evolutionary benefit of facial recognition.

Jimmy Sullivan

At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think an interesting parts of this article is something that you didn't mention in the post, about how chimps, when shown a picture of another chimp's genitalia, can identify if the subject was a male or a female. My original thought was that maybe the chimps simply "know" the difference between male and female. However, like the face identification experiment, the chimps did better on the test when they knew the subject of the photo. Maybe in your post update, you could touch on this part of the experiment a little more?
-Corinne Delisle (3)

At 10:03 PM, Blogger PWH said...

I think that since the chimps are so closely related to us genetically they also have the software in their heads to process and remember simple facial characteristics such as eyebrow angle, lip size nose size and shape etc. I would guess that this information is imprinted more in their heads because they grow up in such a tight knit social community and therefore they get to remember the faces of their community better then other groups of animals. I am curious does this behavior hold true for other primates or is it just for chimps?

-Joe Alonzo

At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we are closely related to the chimps, it's not surprising that they use facial recognition just as we do. How do they process the facial image though? Do they use the same parts of the brain just as humans do?

Hanbing Guo

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How interesting! One thing I am curious about is how the chimps communicated their ability to distinguish fellow chimps by looking at pictures. I am also wondering the same thing about their back-sides! What cued the scientists to know that the chimps could recognize each other this way? In addition, what part of the brain is active when this recognition occurs? Is it the same as humans?

Posted by Sarah Moltzen

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at all.
Monkeys possess many traits that are similar to those of humans. They also demonstrate facial expressions and are able to imitate many of the things they see. Therefore, it is logical to assume that their ability to remember things they see, just as a dog can recognize an object or organism by the way it smells.

Noam Pelleg

At 11:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Just shows how close we are related to chimpanzees. But I don’t know if there are many humans that are able to recognize someone by just looking at a picture of their butt. Can they? I wonder if there is a limit to how many of their “friends” can they remember by looking at their picture?

Tenzing Y. Dundutsang


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