Chimpanzee Intelligence Depends on Genes

Eurek Alert, July 10, 2014

Some chimpanzees are smarter than others, and about half of that variation in intelligence depends on the genes that individuals carry and pass on from one generation to the next. The findings reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 10 show that those genetic differences will be key to understanding the cognitive abilities of primates and their evolution over time.

“As is the case in humans, genes matter when it comes to cognitive abilities in chimpanzees,” says William Hopkins of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. “It doesn’t mean that they are the only factor determining cognitive abilities, but they cannot be ignored.”

The new study found no effect of either sex or rearing history on the cognitive skills of chimpanzees. That is, chimpanzees raised by human caretakers performed no better on cognitive tests delivered to them by humans than did individuals raised by their chimpanzee mothers.

The role of genetics in intelligence has long been debated in scientific circles, the researchers say. It is now clear from previous studies that humans’ performances on IQ tests do depend to a large extent on genetics, even if it can be modified by environmental factors. But the role that genes play in animal intelligence had received considerably less attention.

The new study included data on the cognitive abilities of 99 chimpanzees in all, from age 9 to 54. The researchers’ analysis found that about 50% of the variation in the chimps’ performance on a series of standardized cognitive tests could be attributed to genetic factors.

Studies of chimpanzees could add significantly to scientists’ understanding of intelligence, the researchers say. That’s in part because, unlike humans, chimpanzee performance on cognitive tests isn’t complicated by factors related to school systems or other sociocultural complexities.

The findings suggest that differences in cognition may have arisen in the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees about 5 million years ago. The findings may also lead to the discovery of particular intelligence-related genes.



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  • MekongDelta69

    This will be the 4,376th time I’ve said the same thing on AmRen:



    • MikeofAges

      I use the more discrete term, intellectual profile. I don’t think anyone believe that a person should be categorized forever on the basis of one test, although sometimes one test has to be the arbiter what happens to a particular individual.

      However, when someone has been tested over and over again on different types of tests and all suggest the same aptitudes, and furthermore the person has an actual record of achievement and accomplishments showing the same capabilities as the testing indicates, then you have to say that that person does have an intellectual profile. In the name of justice, they should be placed accordingly.

    • MBlanc46

      Which is why it is already career destroying to undertake such research and will very likely be categorized as “hate speech” in the not-too-distant future.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning sociobiologist E. O. Wilson — a rare academic who can proclaims a major role for genetics in human behavior and survive — has an interesting way of describing animal cognition:

    “Only small parts of the brain resemble a tabula raza; this is true even for human beings. The remainder is more like an exposed negative waiting to be dipped into developer fluid.” [Edward O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, p. 156]

    Says Nelson Rosit, writing in the Occidental Quarterly:

    Wilson is a Harvard professor and, according to [author Tom] Wolfe, a conventional liberal. But his moderate: politics has not shielded him from the ire of the Left. Wolfe relates how radicals attempted to refute findings of sex-based psychological differences. Feminist protesters invaded a conference “where Wilson was appearing, dumped a pitcher of ice water, cubes and all, over his head and began chanting, ‘You’re all wet! You’re all wet!’” That was certainly a devastating critique of sociobiology and emblematic of the Left’s debating style.*

    * (“Is Tom Wolfe a Race Realist?” by Nelson Rosit, Occidental Quarterly, Vol 13, no. 3, Fall 2013, p. 84)

    • Martel

      E.O. Wilson called Gould a charlatan distorting truth to gain attention in an interview with Atlantic Magazines. The time is coming where race-realists have to go on the attack against these frauds, and the line-up of those who recognise race as a valid biological concept is better then it has ever been. Unfortunately Wilson is now quite advantaged in age, as is Nobel prize winner James Watson, who’s long list of politically incorrect statements provide us with great entertainment(see his wiki), but there are quite a few scientists or science-writers who are capable of turning the tide. I believe many geneticists, sociobiologists and those in the field of medicine are quite tired of being forced to tip toe around anything which may be deemed offensive by the political establishment, those who are able to do so should capitalise on this sentiment.

      • anon

        You are making the prime mistake of most white nationalists these days. To think that having better arguments is an effective way to do anything. What you fail to appreciate is that your opponent already knows you are right. They aren’t misguided, they are evil. They use various forms of hard and soft power against you. It does not matter that the specific use is absurd and obviously wrong. What matters is the person doing it has power. With regard to soft power, the absurd propaganda plays 24/7 without challenge on all media. YOUR argument is heard by almost no one. No matter how good it is or how bad theirs is, this situation allows them to win be default. And they KNOW what they are doing. Hard power is even worse. You’ll have your day in court. Prove you are right, justified, lawful and moral.
        And they will put you to death anyway.

        • Martel

          I would never make such a mistake, the time is right because of a shift in attitudes within the scientific community, not simply because all the data points toward us being correct. You are too pessimistic in my opinion, its easy to become overwhelmed by the level of organization and influence our opponents have, but human nature is on our side, humans are not build to live in multi-ethnic societies. Time will increasingly be in our favour in terms of uniting Europeans, even though the power of Europeans to shape their own future will decrease as we slowly become minorities. Still, my aim is to live in a world where I can trust my fellow whites to share my view, anything else is complimentary.

    • Sick of it

      I think those feminists actually proved his point…

    • MBlanc46

      He’s one of the great scientists of our generation. A data falsifier such as Stephen Jay Gould becomes a major public figure, but Wilson is ignored and worse.

  • LovelyNordicHeidi

    The new study included data on the cognitive abilities of 99 chimpanzees in all, from age 9 to 54. The researchers’ analysis found that about 50% of the variation in the chimps’ performance on a series of standardized cognitive tests could be attributed to genetic factors.
    Science just proves what we already knew. Will this turn a few Whites to our side? Let’s hope, but I’m not counting on it. They’re too busy with watching TV and playing computer games. The West is becoming the new South Africa…..

    • propagandaoftruth

      Maybe more chimps will side with us. Bonobos?

      • I am wolf

        Whtes are the new beasties? Animal rights for both the four-footed and the pale of skin?

        • propagandaoftruth

          I want to domesticate bonobos and sell them to perverts as “sex apes”.

          Better than what they have to deal with in the Congo…

  • Oil Can Harry

    Can the p.c. weenies who lurk at this site please explain how evolution can cause genetic differences in intelligence among chimps but NOT in humans?

    • camp50

      By one interpretation of the statistical analysis presented in “The Bell Curve”, they do. For that, no other book in my lifetime was more undeservedly vilified.

    • Olorin

      Because racism. QED.

    • Smith

      The explanation almost certainly would be “Wow, just wow!”

  • IstvanIN

    performance on cognitive tests isn’t complicated by factors related to school systems or other sociocultural complexities.
    Education and socialization have little effect on blacks, either.

    • JDInSanD

      Being exposed to standard English on hundreds of TV and radio stations hasn’t helped their language skills either.

  • “chimpanzees raised by human caretakers performed no better on cognitive tests delivered to them by humans than did individuals raised by their chimpanzee mothers.”
    Likewise, when the race that is closest to the chimps, the black race, is raised by the white human, the black individual will also perform no better. Thus, integration is NOT justified by the false logic that being around the white race will lift up the individual black.

    This leads to the conclusion that if integration does NOT benefit the black, then who does benefit? Certainly, not Whites.

    Logical conclusion: Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.

    • Einsatzgrenadier

      Segregation isn’t enough this time around, but only because of defective whites who are highly susceptible to the mental disease of pathological altruism with severe ethnomasochistic tendencies. These will feel sorry for negroes and slowly re-introduce the negro into our neighborhoods and our lives. I’m afraid we’re going to have to repatriate the savages back to Africa along with their white liberal apologists.

  • They only need government jobs and other “gibs me dats”. That’ll fix things right up.

  • John R

    Chimps are smarter than humans. How do you expect them to act, given the offensive negative stereotypes they endure? Humans say things like “I will go ape!” and “You aren’t going to make a monkey out of me!” So, the poor chimps are forced to act out the stereotype. How many Chimpanzee hosts are shown on TV? How many positive role models do chimps have? How come, with all the killings of chimps by humans, the one woman who was attacked by a chimp got all the news coverage? (There, see, I am the original chimpanzee bleeding heart liberal!)

    • Spikeygrrl


      Thanks. I needed that.

    • BillMillerTime

      Yes, chimpanzees suffer from stereotype threat inflicted on them by society.

    • propagandaoftruth

      So marry a chimp and breed with it. That’ll solve our problems. See? They’re really just like us under all that fur and despite all common sense.

      They just need gubbamint jobs. Once they constitute a significant portion of our civil services all will see their true worth.

      Let me indroduce y’all to my new son-in-law, Oliver the Humanzee. Humanzee – that’s a French name originally, by the way…

  • dd121

    Chimps have a shrewd, devilish intelligence, spiked with a mean streak and super-human strength…kind of like blacks.

    • Kenner

      ‘Low cunning’.

      • Tim_in_Indiana

        Actually, as Carlton Putnam pointed out, blacks can be quite canny when it comes to manipulating the emotions of whites (witness the effectiveness of the civil wrongs movement).

        • ElComadreja

          Only those whites that don’t know what they’re about.

    • MBlanc46

      And when we leave them alone in their own environment, they don’t cause us any trouble. That’s what we should have done with them. That’s what we should have done with blacks. We’re beginning to understand that chimps are not ours to do with as we please. I suppose there’s little hope that we will ever come to that understanding about blacks.

      • SSkreelings

        They’re in their own environment in Africa and look how well that is turning out.

        • MBlanc46

          But it doesn’t cause us any trouble (or at least it needn’t) and that’s all that I care about.

      • dd121

        Dang, they deleted me.

  • Kenner

    Decades ago, Sandra Scarr conducted a study of black children adopted by middle-class white families. She was so sure that IQ was a by-product of environment, she said she would resign from academia if proven wrong.
    When the kid’s IQ’s barely budged, she kept her word, at least for a time.
    The internet is now replete with tortured revisions of that study, claiming it’s ‘inconclusive’.
    Years later, and with billions spent on ‘closing the gap’, ‘more study is needed’.

    • JohnEngelman

      We got all the study we needed when No Child Left Behind failed.

  • HJ11

    Genes are us.

  • LHathaway

    “Chimpanzee Intelligence Depends on Genes”

    lol! Oh my! Surely that headline was meant to be a parody of the IQ crowd places like AmRen.

    God, let it be so. If not, it was sure funny reading the headline anyway.

  • SSkreelings

    There are really smart people and there are really dumb people. And college and diversity and a six-figure make-work government job isn’t going to change that fact.

  • Perhaps these chimps would do better if they were sent to school with white and Asian kids.

    • SSkreelings


    • bilderbuster

      It certainly worked for Blacks.

  • Spikeygrrl

    To whom, exactly, is this news?

    Just look around you. With the tragic but statistically trivial exception of congenital cognitive defects, smart parents have smart kids, average parents have average kids, and stupid people have stupid kids. Period, end of story.

  • SlizzardAjeosshi

    I don’t think anybody, except maybe the dumbest among the libtards crowd, denies genes do play a role in shaping intelligence.

    What libbies strongly oppose is the concept of an un even distribution, among ethnic lines, of the genetic make-up responsible for intelligence.

    It will take time but eventually we will get there

    • ElComadreja

      Yet they want you to believe genetics determine sexual orientation.

    • Martel

      Genes simply cannot be evenly distributed, especially not for phenotypes which stem from multiple genes such as height, or as we suspect today, intelligence.

  • I am wolf

    Heh. What bugs me is that humans with less IQ than apes have rights, but animals with IQs higher than retarded humans get treated like dirt.

    We ought to be putting IQ 50 human retards in those AIDS tests, not 90 IQ chimps. If IQ was really all that matters, then no one would be squeamish about what species was used to better humanity in medical experiments.

    Two cases from when I was a kid, that had the same answer.

    Dog bites human, gets put down for it. Why? Because it doesn’t know better.

    Human retard throws 5 year old girl into Detroit River; she drowns. Human retard gets set free, because he “doesn’t know any better”.

    Doesn’t make sense to me.

  • When chimps discover human politics, these genetic factors will mysteriously disappear.

  • anon

    This article is absurd junk science that only the ignorant take seriously. When I use the term ignorant, I mean that specifically, not in an ad hoc or ad hominum manner. Those writing the article and those reading the article are ignoring important parts of what is being observed in order to lie about it or delude oneself about it. Standardized tests do not measure anything directly. They do not actually “measure” anything at all. They rely on the ironclad assumption that most people (and this is where the article is absurd) are the same at whatever the test is and that those who are not correlate with a specific condition, disease, state of being, whatever, so that the test can indirectly detect something that cannot be easily seen directly.
    IQ……either the person or subgroup is normal. Or they are not. Being abnormally good at the test has no stable meaning whatsoever. Being abnormally bad at the test correlates with mental defection. What is mental defection? It is the inability to function in, engage in, contribute to, or understand a first world society……OF HUMANS!
    Chimps are not human. Chimps do not in any manner, whatsoever, engage human society in any manner except that of a pet. My cat is “smart” because he successfully understands that if he gets off the bed when I tell him to, he will get a treat. To try and see if my cat is smart by measuring his ability to read or do some other human activity, as compared to other cats, is absurd. So is giving the chimp cognitive tests.
    Chimps are, of course, smarter than cats…..or are they? What does that mean? It means chimps are more similar to humans in their behavior than cats. However, cats exist all over the world, in every climate, country, historical period, even the most harsh. Chimps do not. Cats can engage humans and do. Chimps rarely can co-exist with humans (and are actually quite dangerous because they are too stupid to be reliably domesticated). So, from a standpoint of what matters….survival…spreading and adapting and thriving in habitat…..who is smarter? That is the cat, by a HUGE margin. Who can even take the cognitive test and mimic a human? The chimp. What does that mean?
    The ability to do well on the test may or may not be genetic (based on the complete lack of common sense and understanding of the basic science, the entire article is suspect). But that has no meaning.
    And quite frankly, it’s a red herring. The real issue is this. What percentage of black people are not mental defectives? What percentage can even exist in a first world society. The answer is damn few. As in single digits few.
    This is not the same thing as being less intelligent as others. That is to say, it’s not a matter of dysgenics. If I took a million white people and only allowed the smart of them to breed but made those smart people do a lot of breeding, after several generations, I’d have a heck of a lot of smart white people.
    If I took a million negros and only allowed the smartest to breed and made them breed a lot, after several generations, I would STILL have a group of mental defectives unable to understand, engage in, develop, maintain or contribute in any way to a first world society.
    This isn’t genetic. It’s racial. It’s never been any different and cannot be any different. Pretending with pie in the sky pseudoscience invites what has been going on the last several hundred years. Attempts to alter the negro to make him normal, all the while sacrificing civilization itself, up to the very cusp of extinction. This is no small thing. Unless we, white people, figure this out, they are going to drag us down with them. We are already 50 to 100 years along in the process and there is a point where it will not be reversible without a die off of the majority of the world population.

  • Martel

    ”Four dozen prestigious academics”
    That is remarkable. Wilson is a scientist worthy of such a title.