A new study indicates that chimpanzees get half of their intelligence through genes, while the other half comes from environmental factors.

Research done by Atlanta’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center shows how the chimps don’t get their intelligence by mimicking other chimps, but instead it is passed down from genes, just like humans. The genes play an important role in the way a chimpanzee performs activities, the study says.

“Chimps offer a really simple way of thinking about how genes might influence intelligence without, in essence, the baggage of these other mechanisms that are confounded with genes in research on human intelligence,” Dr. William Hopkins, professor in the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State, said.

Up until 1985, animal behavior was studied, rather than animal intelligence. However, in the last several decades, various pieces of research have indicated that animals are actually capable of cognition, although the reasons behind it were a bit of a mystery.

In this new study, scientists worked with 99 chimpanzees, between the ages of 9 to 54, at the Yerkes Primate Center, in Atlanta. They gave the chimps a number of cognitive tests that were designed to test a chimp’s abilities. The tests measured how well each individual chip could use tools, each chimp’s social ability, their individual spatial memory, and more.

“We have what we would call a smart chimp, and chimps we’d call not so smart,” said Hopkins. “We were able to explain a lot of that variability by who was related to each other.”

The researchers also created a genetic pedigree of the chimps, which shows how they are all related to each other. Just about half of a chimp’s performance on the cognitive tests could be attributed to their relatedness, the study found. It was also found that neither the sex or the way the chimp was raised had any impact on its performance.

The conclusion that the study made was that in the age-old argument of nature vs. nurture, it appears as if nature matters more.

In the future, the researchers plan doing similar tests on a colony of chimps, as well as getting brain scans of the chimps in the hopes of learning even more about how genes relay intelligence.

The study was published in the latest issue of Current Biology.


4 Responses

  1. Andrew Katsis: Not all chimps are chumps – New Zealand Herald | Internet News 247

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  2. bgrnathan

    APES ARE QUITE COMFORTABLE IN HOW THEY WALK, just as humans are quite comfortable in how they walk. Even a slight change in the position of a tendon, muscle, bone, or cartilage, for either, would be excruciatingly painful and would not be an advantage for survival. There’s no hard evidence that humans evolved from ape-like creatures anymore than there’s hard evidence that apes evolved from four-legged-pawed dog-like creatures. All the fossils that have been used to support human evolution have been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not non-human and human (i.e. Neanderthal Man was discovered later to be fully human). Textbooks and museums still continue to display examples and illustrations supporting human evolution which most evolutionists have rejected and no longer support. Many diagrams of ape-man creatures over the years were reconstructed according to evolutionary interpretations from disputable bones that have now been discredited but still being taught in school textbooks.

    ACQUIRED CHARACTERISTICS CAN’T BE PASSED ON: Many people have wrong ideas of how evolution is supposed to work. Physical traits and characteristics are determined and passed on by genes – not by what happens to our body parts. For example, if a woman were to lose her finger this wouldn’t affect how many fingers her baby will have. Changing the color and texture of your hair will not affect the color and texture of your children’s hair. So, even if an ape’s muscles and bones changed so that it could walk upright it still would not be able to pass on this trait to its offspring. Only changes or mutations that occur in the genetic code of reproductive cells (i.e. sperm and egg) can be passed on to offspring.

    GENETIC AND BIOLOGICAL SIMILARITIES: Genetic information, like other forms of information, cannot happen by chance, so it is more logical to believe that genetic and biological similarities between all forms of life are due to a common Designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes. It doesn’t mean all forms of life are biologically related!

    What about “Junk DNA?” It’s not junk. It’s we who were ignorant of their usefulness. These so-called “non-coding” segments of DNA have recently been shown to be vital in regulating gene expression (i.e. when, where, and how genes are expressed, so they’re not “junk”). Even more recent scientific evidence shows that they do code for proteins, after all, and that we need to readjust our thinking of how the cell reads the genetic code (Read “Human Proteome More Complex Than Previously Thought,” Internet article by Dr. Jeffrey Tomkins). Read my popular Internet article: HOW FORENSIC SCIENCE REFUTES ATHEISM

    HUMAN-CHIMP DNA MYTH: The actual similarity is between 70-87% not 99.8% as commonly believed. The original research stating 99.8% similarity was based on ignoring contradicting evidence. Read the article, “Evaluating the Human-Chimp DNA Myth–New Research Data” at the Institute for Creation Research Site. Whatever similarities exist are better explained due to a common Designer Who designed similar functions for similar purposes, rather than chance common ancestry. Read my Internet article: WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS!

    NATURAL LIMITS TO EVOLUTION: Only evolution within “kinds” is genetically possible (i.e. varieties of dogs, cats, etc.), but not evolution across “kinds” (i.e. from sea sponge to human). How did species survive if their vital tissues, organs, reproductive systems were still evolving? Survival of the fittest would actually have prevented evolution across kinds! Read my Internet article: WAR AMONG EVOLUTIONISTS! (2nd Edition).

    Natural selection doesn’t produce biological traits or variations. It can only “select” from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. The real issue is what biological variations are possible, not natural selection. Only limited evolution, variations of already existing genes and traits are possible. Nature is mindless and has no ability to design and program entirely new genes for entirely new traits.

    Modern evolutionists believe and hope that over, supposedly, millions of years random genetic mutations in the genes of reproductive cells caused by environmental radiation will generate entirely new genes. This is total blind and irrational faith on the part of evolutionists. It’s much like believing that randomly changing the sequence of letters in a romance novel, over millions of years, will turn it into a book on astronomy! That’s the kind of blind faith macro-evolutionists have.

    When evolutionary scientists teach that random genetic mutations in species over, supposedly, millions of years caused by random environmental agents such as radiation, produced entirely new genes (i.e. genetic code or genetic information) leading to entirely new forms of life, they are not teaching science but simply a faith, a belief!

    Mutations are accidents in the genetic, are mostly harmful, and have no capability of producing greater complexity in the code. Even if a good accident occurred, for every good one there would be hundreds of harmful ones with the net result, over time, being harmful, even lethal, to the species. At best, mutations only produce further variations within a natural species. Even so, mutations are not the best explanation for variations within a natural species.

    Since it is not rational to believe that genetic information, or any form of information, can arise by chance, it is totally rational to believe that God (the Supreme Genetic Engineer) placed within all natural species, in the beginning, with all of the recessive and dominant genes that produced all of the intra-species variations in nature.

    Visit my newest Internet site: THE SCIENCE SUPPORTING CREATION

    I discuss: Punctuated Equilibria, “Junk DNA,” genetics, mutations,
    natural selection, fossils, genetic and biological similarities between species.

    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. theology/biology)

    Author of popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED

    *I have had the privilege of being recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who In The East” for my writings on religion and science. I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterward) before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges/universities.

    • Terry

      If our G_d gave us our intelligent design, is it logical he would change it if he were unhappy with the finished product or is it more logical to assume G_d would make it perfect the first time?


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