Tag Archives: Sticks

Chimps show signs of altruism for the first time in a research

Humans have shown occasional signs of altruistic behavior i.e. helping others without thinking about the results or personal benefits.Chimpanzees have shown similar signs as well. Recently a study conducted by scientists at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Uganda proved the fact that chimps can also be selfless How selfless can they be? Study: Researchers used 36 chimps of the Ugandan National Reserve who were born wild. Each chimp watched a person they have never seen before reach for a wooden stick within the reach of the animal but far from the human. Even when the sticks were higher up and the apes had to climb in order to reach them, these primates didn’t back off. They were not slackers. Often times it was seen that the chimps would just lend a hand by throwing the stick to the human. 12 out of 18 chimps went out of their way to help an unfamiliar victim. I think this is just great. We often underestimate these apes and ignore them. But, personally I would say we need to care for them and sometimes, they might just return the favor (This shows that I am not very altruistic). This proves that chimps too can be altruistic in nature beyond their cultural boundaries. Developmental and Comparative psychologist Felix Warneken agrees: Chimpanzees and such young infants both show that some level of altruism may be innate and not just a factor of education Warneken also comments on the study: This is the first evidence of chimpanzees helping somebody they don’t know. But we also found they helped other chimps He further mentions: People say we become altruistic because our parents teach us so, but that young children are originally selfish. This suggests maybe culture is not the only source of altruism. Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia also shares his perspective on this issue: Animals don’t know much about genetic kinship or future return favours Natural selection has produced psychological mechanisms designed to produce spontaneous helping that – on average and in the long run – works to the advantage of both actors and recipients The reason why Chimps show this kind of behavior is probably because of their kinship to humans, which is rather an evolutionary advantage they have when compared to other animals. Some of these thoughts have been taken from PLoS Biology journal. I think that this was a great study conducted and there should be more researches done in the future to prove the kinship between humans and animals. Image Links: Spiegel and Primates Source Link: MSNBC