THE WORLD THIS WEEK
Lemurs aren’t stupid
WASHINGTON: Lemurs, once believed to be cute but basically stupid, show startling intelligence when given a chance to win treats by playing a computer game, US researchers say. The study will help shed light on how humans became sophisticated mathematically, the Duke University team said on May 12. So far, it suggests primitive animals such as lemurs need a good reason, such as a treat, to bother trying to count. Humans and monkeys, in contrast, will stretch their minds simply out of curiosity. Lemurs are primates, as are monkeys, apes and humans. But they are considered far less intelligent. “The little bit of research that’s out there suggests their learning capacities are not as sophisticated as those of monkeys,” said psychologist Elizabeth Brannon, who led the research.