The Furuvik Zoo in Sweden is the home of several primates and a few chimps. One of them has recently offered a surprise in terms of behavior, when caretakers have observed the animal actively planning ways to harm visitors that approached its cage. It has been seen chipping away at the concrete walls surrounding its designated space, in order to manufacture small discs, which it could then hurl at those around it. It has also been caught doing that at night as well, which hints at pre-planning, a skill not regularly associated with primates of any sort.
For some time, researchers and anthropologists have known that some apes are able to develop primitive tools, with which to hunt for ants or for other such purposes. But, beyond just taking a straw off the ground and using it to eat insects, they haven't believed that chimpanzees, for instance, have the ability to plan ahead of time and to manufacture weapons, which they would later use, if the situation requires it. This represents a groundbreaking discovery, as it is the first time in history when an animal other than a human has been observed planning ahead, a feat that hints at a brain more developed than first thought.
“It implies that they have a highly developed consciousness, including life-like mental simulations of potential events. They most probably have an ‘inner world’ like we have when reviewing past episodes of our lives or thinking of days to come. I would guess that they plan much of their everyday behavior,” Mathias Osvath, the researcher who has studied Furuvik Zoo's chimpanzee Santino for well over ten years, explains.
The most recent observations pile up over other scientific studies, which prove that certain classes of non-human primates are able to exhibit human-like thought patterns, a feat that has been until just recently only attributed to our race. Baboons, for instance, are able to match pictures together and even recognize objects, as evidenced by a recent survey. As for Santino, his concocting has ended up swiftly, when the zoo managers have decided to neuter him, in an attempt to lower the 31-year-old chimp's hormone levels, which they have held accountable for the action.