Guys, we messed up. We ran too many tests and trained chimps to the point where they are now better than us at strategy games! Seriously, science just proved it in a lab. So at what point do we bow to our ape overlords?

You may laugh but this study, CNET writes, was performed with two widely different sets of humans and they didn’t do nearly well as their chimp brethren. The game played is somewhat simple. One person is the mismatcher and randomly selects one of two images. The second person or primate then must guess what was chosen. While the humans struggled getting into a rhythm, the chimps adapted quickly and learned patterns and succeeded with a high success rate!

Why did this happen? One theory is that the chimps in captivity consistently perform tasks of this nature, so they knew the drill going in. That being said, if you say that, then you would have to concede that after 200 rounds the humans couldn’t grasp a simple game. Another theory is that the chimps were paired in mother child groups, and instinctively knew what the other one would choose. Apparently there were also relatives who were paired up in the human trials and they didn’t do any better than any of the other humans.

So what does this mean? Are the chimps smarter than us? Have we gone soft in our digital world and our brains mushed out in the information age? Not at all. While chimps may have an advantage at simple tasks, they still lack the ability to think critically and can't win a game like Chess or Risk.

The biggest hindrance the study theorizes is human reliance on verbal communication. Apes rely on social hierarchy and mostly physical cues, so they may be more apt to understand signals and things that we are less obvious. That’s reassuring, but it makes me wonder if humans with no verbal communication could potentially pick up on these abilities lost to our species. Like was Tarzan a master of reading body language? I guess we'll never know.



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