Naong, an orangutan at a Swedish zoo, has helped scientists make a new discovery: Humans aren't the only species who can forecast whether something will taste good or bad. It was believed before this finding that only humans could predict good and bad flavor combinations, but Naong has showcased drink-mixing skills proving otherwise.
According to New Scientist, Naong was given three different juices: cherry, rhubarb and lemon, and also apple cider vinegar, to taste and mixed as he pleased. He tried every possible pairing and learned that he hated vinegar (no surprise there), wasn't too crazy about lemon, but loved cherry. His ability to coordinate flavors goes to show he could be quite a skilled bartender.
Interestingly, when cocktail mixtures he hadn't tasted before were placed in front of him, he consistently chose those including flavors he already knew he liked. As Munchies reports, this is considered "affective forecasting," and it makes sense.
Swedish scientist Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc claims that this ability is evolutionarily helpful because "having to make trial-and-error choices for every new experience -- without considering related foreknowledge -- could be risky and costly."
We think it's also helpful for mixing drink cocktails!