What Makes Us Human -- Learning from Chimpanzees

"What are humans, really?" In an attempt to answer this question, the "Ai-Project" led by Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa from the Primate Research Institute of Kyoto University compares humans with our closest living mammal, the chimpanzee. The project was launched in 1978 by trying to teach Ai the chimpanzee words and math, and has achieved a series of worldwide discoveries. Most notably, Ai's son, Ayumu, showed a far better ability than humans to instantly memorize numbers. The experiment results caused Matsuzawa to question what abilities humans may have lost and what other abilities we may have advanced. Based on this hypothesis, Matsuzawa continued with his experiments to find out whether "chimpanzees can be compassionate to each other based on imagination," and whether "they in fact act accordingly." His 38-year-long study has revealed what makes us human.