Baboons show their word skills

Reading may stem from a visual aptitude shared by all primates

By Bruce Bower, 09:48 AM April 11, 2012

Baboons hang out in the bush, not in bookstores. Yet these avid nonreaders can learn to tell written, real words from nonsense words, a new study finds.

That surprising achievement is not the same as reading, say psychologist Jonathan Grainger of the University of Aix-Marseille in France and his colleagues: Baboons tested in the new study didn’t attach meanings to words. Critically, though, these animals demonstrated that the roots of deciphering alphabetic script lie in brain functions tha...

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