This is analogous to the case of the case of the Tzeltal people, whose language contains no relative directional references but instead, only absolute ordinal references. Brown and Levinson report having tested a native speaker of this language by blindfolding him in a darkened house and spinning him around more than 20 times. The informant was still able to point in an agreed direction despite what we, as non-Tzeltal speakers, might perceive about the difficulty of this task. Brown and Levinson attribute this as a cognitive capability constituted from the unique character of the Tzeltal language and the people who speak it. They argue that the language their research subjects learn to speak shape not only the way they see and experience the world, but the way they can interact with it in significant ways.
Then there is the case of neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, whose training as a brain scientist placed her in a unique position to report on her own stroke:
Bolte Taylor asserts that her experience of a stroke presented evidence for her of alternate configurations of thought and experience, correlating these with different sides of her brain and presenting our intended engagement with these sides of ourselves as life choices.
These three examples exemplify what I imagine may be an innumerable set of possible configurations for understanding and interacting with the world. They also raise fundamental questions.
Ayumu the chimpanzee is important not only because he expresses what we can recognise as intelligence but also furthers the ongoing debate about what it means for humans to co-exist with non-human sentience. What should our role and relationship with respect to other beings on the planet be? The Tzeltal people help us understand that our languages shape our cognitive abilities, supporting the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis. And Bolte Taylor shows us that within each of us there exist choices over which we have conscious control that profoundly shape our experience of the world and how we interact with it.