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Science Magazine: Humans aren’t the only great apes that can ‘read minds’


For years, only humans were thought to have this key cognitive skill of attributing “false belief,” which is believed to underlie deception, empathy, teaching, and perhaps even language. But three species of great apes—chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans—also know when someone holds a false belief, according to a new study published today in Science. The groundbreaking study suggests that this skill likely can be traced back to the last common ancestor of great apes and humans, and may be found in other species.

A soap-opera watching experiment suggests chimps, bonobos, and orangutans can understand what others are thinking and when their perceptions about the world differ.

 

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