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‘Cheating’ gorillas show clever puzzle-solving

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Gorillas at a zoo in England have demonstrated a distinctly human trait while attempting to solve a new puzzle game – cheating.

The gorillas were presented with a wall-mounted device where the aim is to guide a peanut through a series of obstacles by poking a stick through various holes to move it along. Eventually the peanut reaches the bottom of the device and drops out.

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Some gorillas, however, figured out an easier way to retrieve the nut.

“We’ve seen a lot of cheating behavior where they’ve been putting their lips up against the device and sucking the nut out which was not how we intended the device to be used. But it just shows you that they’re very flexible, they’re capable of creating new solving strategies to access the food,” Dr Fay Clark from Bristol Zoo Gardens told Reuters.
“They have some fascinating problem-solving abilities that have probably not been witnessed before,” she added.

Since first being introduced to the prototype device earlier this year, the scientists say the game has proved a hit with the troop of endangered western lowland gorillas, who regularly returned to play with the game even when there were no more nuts to win.

The ‘Gorilla Game Lab’ project from the University of Bristol and Bristol Zoological Society developed the game to encourage the gorillas’ cognitive and puzzle-solving abilities. The prototype device had to be strong enough to withstand a frustrated gorilla, which can be seven times stronger than humans. It also had to be engaging enough to keep them coming back for more.

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“With each of the modules in the game, they’re removable so we can take the modules out, re-designed them and put in an additional module or change the actual structure. So it creates an endless stream of new and novel puzzles for them to solve,” said engineer Dr Stuart Gray of the University of Bristol.

While the main aim of the project is to create a “positive psychological state of pleasure and satisfaction in the gorillas”, the researchers are already setting their sights on more advanced models that would help zookeepers better understand both the mental and physical condition of the animal.

“Things like eyesight, hearing, other cognitive functions – all of these could be measurable further on down the line,” added Gray.

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Editing by Louise Heavens

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Texas governor busted sending racist call-to-arms a day before El Paso attack: ‘take matters into our own hands’

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On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) tweeted out a message of unity and promised to work to reduce violence in his state, in the wake of the shooting in El Paso that left 22 dead and dozens more injured:

Today we had hearings responding to the tragic shooting in El Paso.

We focused on community healing, combating domestic terrorism, reducing hateful ideologies, & keeping guns out of hands of deranged killers while respecting 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll keep TX safe.#txlege pic.twitter.com/ymct4aiSgK

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Facebook bans far-right website from pro-Trump advertising after they try to skirt transparency rules

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On Thursday, NBC News reported that Facebook has banned the Epoch Times from placing political advertisements, after the right-wing website tried to conceal its multimillion-dollar dark money streams and get around the social network's political advertising transparency rules in its propaganda supporting President Donald Trump.

The Epoch Times had tried to skirt rules by running ads under puppet names like "Honest Paper" and "Pure American Journalism," confusing users about who was really behind the ads.

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Former Overstock CEO tells Fox News the Feds wanted him to sleep with Russian spy Maria Butina

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Longtime Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne resigned on Thursday after issuing a bizarre press release that caused the company's stock to tank.

Byrne then went on Fox News to claim that federal officials urged him to have a romantic relationship with Russian spy Maria Butina.

He claimed that the government told him they never asked citizens to engage in romantic relationships, but it was "such a national security risk" that the government asked Byrne, then in his fifties, to sleep with Butina, who was at the time in her twenties and half his age.

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