A new study has revealed that just like human infants, great apes can distinguish between true and false beliefs that others may hold.
For long, scientists had thought that this ability distinguished humans from other animal species. In the study, which was published in the PLOS One journal on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, great apes successfully passed two tests designed to determine if the primate species can understand that people act based on their beliefs about reality, and such beliefs may be false.
“Finding evidence of belief-tracking in great apes was kind of a surprise to all of us,” the lead author of the study David Buttlemann told the press.
This finding adds to a growing body of evidence about the cognitive abilities of great apes. In past studies, researchers have revealed that great apes have the capacity to recognize that others have goals and may perceive reality differently.