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Chimpanzees can navigate virtual environments

In search of virtual fruit, chimpanzees used landscape features for better orientation

Using touchscreen technology, six zoo-housed primates learned to navigate towards a distant virtual tree with different types of fruit underneath it, even working out how to find the landmark from different starting locations. Led by Matthias Allritz and Josep Call from the University of St Andrews and Francine Dolins at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, this is the first empirical study of how chimpanzees navigate an open-field naturalistic, virtual environment. It shows that chimpanzee navigation in the virtual world shares several key features with real-life navigation.

© Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology