Recent study results show that prompts can lead chimps and orangutans to mentally navigate back to certain points in time, a memory feature believed to only exist in humans.
For a long time, science has supported the notion that humans are the only species who when presented with a specific cue can recall past events and experiences, an experience termed autobiographical memory.
Well, it seems science could very well have been wrong.
Recent study results show that prompts can lead chimps and orangutans to mentally navigate back to certain points in time as well.
The proof lies in an experiment conducted over several years.
In the beginning of the trial, chimps and orangutans were shown a banana and where, in a separate room, the stick long enough to grab it off of its perch was hidden.
It’s not like it was lying out in the open either. That stick and one that looked a lot like it but was too short for the task were stashed in boxes.
Years passed, other exercises were performed in the space, and then one day three years later, the out of reach banana appeared again.
Remarkably every one of them - except for a single orangutan - quickly recalled the steps necessary to claim the fruit.
Researchers still aren’t sure of how much apes understand that their memories are autobiographical.