Check this out. Five numbers appear on a screen in different locations. They remain visible for 210 milliseconds and then they are obscured. The subject must then touch the locations in increasing order of the numbers that appeared there. That’s pretty much impossible. Here’s a human subject who is highly trained and does an impressive job but still fails miserably.


Now check out how nonchalantly this chimpanzee does it.


I didn’t even know they could count. Note that the 5 numbers are random integers between 1 and 9.  So the chimp is processing a binary relation in short-term memory, not to mention reading at a super-human rate. There are more videos here.  I saw these at Colin Camerer’s talk last week at Arthur Robson‘s conference on the Biological Basis of Preferences.