Study reveals genetic factors determine intelligence of chimpanzees

The intelligence of chimpanzees depends largely on genetic factors, according to a new study published in Current Biology.

Dr. William Hopkins, professor at the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State, led the study at Yerkes National Primate Research at Emory University, according to a university release.

“Non-genetic factors matter, but not as much as previously thought. The point of the article was to show that genetics matter in determining individual variation in cognition in chimpanzees. This is also the case in humans,” Hopkins said.

The study addressed questions no other study attempted to, according to Hopkins.

“This was the first study to ever examine heritability in intelligence in nonhuman primates,” Hopkins said.

In the study, 99 chimpanzees ranging in age from nine to 54 completed tasks testing a variety of abilities, according to the release.

Hopkins found similarities between the intelligence of chimpanzees and humans, according to the release. He plans to continue his research in the future.

“We also hope to assess the role that some specific genes play on different cognitive functions,” Hopkins said.