Chimpanzees too show their Gratitude
23. August 2017
Humans show signs of gratitude when another human steps up for them, be it through presents or kind words. New research shows that chimpanzees, too, reward favours of other chimpanzees. This indicates that they are less egotistic than commonly assumed. Cooperation is an important act among apes, as it ensures survival. To what extent exactly they cooperate was now examined by researchers of the Max-Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology – with a cooperation test. The researchers wanted to know whether chimpanzees’ behaviour differs depending on whether they were assisted by another chimpanzee before the trial or not. Indeed, the results suggested that the apes reward the help of other chimps: For instance, they remembered whether their partner had provided them with food before the trial and if so, rewarded him by sharing a food resource. Furthermore, they abstained from additional food, if it meant for the other ape to receive a reward. The researchers could even estimate how high the reward was going to be: The more risk a partner took, the higher the reward. The researchers assume that chimps distinguish between selfish and selfless behaviour – similar to humans.
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