We tend to think of ourselves as the smartest animals on earth. After all, we've built such technological wonders as the Internet, the internal combustion engine and sneakers that light up when you take a step. But despite our big, juicy frontal lobe, many of us still forget to pick up the kids after practice due to our inferior memory, one area where a whole bunch of animals leave us in the dust. For instance ...
6Chimpanzees' Visual Memory Can Top Yours
Try this quick test:
Glance at the image below for two seconds only. Don't cheat. Then cover it with your hand and remember exactly where each digit was, in order.
DON'T GET DISTRACTED! FUCK! BALLS! HITLER!
Can't do it? Congratulations, you just got your ass handed to you by a chimp.
In a Kyoto University study, a bunch of chimps were taught to count from one to nine, which is impressive enough already, but then each of the subjects was shown some randomly scattered numbers on a computer screen. The numbers were then covered and the subjects were required to identify the position of each number in order (putting us at Cracked at a distinct disadvantage due to our crippling inability to list numbers in any order but descending).
How did they do? Startlingly well, as the quite frankly insane video proves:
Scientists attribute this impressive display of working memory to "eidetic imagery," or what is commonly known as photographic memory. You've probably heard that term in reference to people who remember every little thing that's ever happened to them, but in this case it just means the chimps seem to have a really good visual memory -- they can remember details of an image even if they just glimpsed it for a couple of seconds.
"I swear to God, man, I thought that stall was unoccupied."
And more amazingly, their performance did not decrease when the time spent looking at the image was shortened -- the chimps were memorizing all of the numbers almost instantaneously. Meanwhile, human subjects who were given the same test exhibited a steep decline in performance with the decrease in memorization time, an infraction that no doubt earned them a severe beating from their chimp overlords.