TECH

Chimps Outsmart Humans: The Simian Revolution Is Imminent

11/06/2014 12:08 BST | Updated 11/06/2014 12:59 BST

News has emerged which, in the context of the new Planet of the Apes movie, is both chilling and suspiciously timely: chimps have reportedly outsmarted humans when it comes to simple competitive games.

The research carried out by the California Institute of Technology found that when given the task of playing a simple game of hide and seek, chimps were quickly able to learn their competitor's strategies and improve. In fact, they were able to do it faster than humans completing the same task.

Before you start panicking about the primate apocalypse, take a breath. The experiments were comparing chimps vs other chimps, and humans vs humans, so this isn't a case of chimps directly beating a human. Yet.

In fact, the study was designed to test something known as the Nash equilibrium which suggests that after a while two opponents will know enough about each others tactics that they'll essentially reach a stalemate.

This core premise of game theory holds that, once the equilibrium is reached, it becomes impossible to present anything other than your own tactics because your opponent already knows everything about you.

Co-authoring the study is Rahul Bhui who believes the reason why chimps are naturally so much better at this is because it's actually part of their daily lives in the wild.

"Fights with other chimps and dominance hierarchies are central to their lives, we have language and widespread cooperation which (chimps) don't need to worry about, and maybe that impairs our performance in these simple competitions, maybe these were costs we paid for other abilities."