A group of monkeys in France have been having reading lessons from scientists and they have managed to lean the difference between a word and a non-word. Does this prove that they can read? It seems so and this remarkable story is making the group of six baboons famous in France.
The team of baboon teachers at Aix-Marseille University taught their pupils to work with them using touch screen technology. Over the course of six weeks they investigated whether the baboons could distinguish between a taught word – being a visual object on screen – from a mix of letters that were not taught as an “object”. The purpose was to understand if linguistic skill was needed to actually distinguish a word from a non word and astonishingly the baboons were able to recognise the taught words in around 75% of the presentations.
One of the baboons named Dan came out as star pupil – able to recognise a total of 308 words over a six week period of lessons. We hope he got an A+ and a banana for his great efforts!