Study: Chimps don't care about friends

Oct 26, 2005

University of California-Los Angeles scientists say helping others is apparently a uniquely human habit -- or, at least, not a habit shared by chimpanzees.

Joan Silk and colleagues conducted a behavioral study and found chimps are not interested in doing a good deed for a neighbor, even if it would cause them no inconvenience or harm.

The researchers presented captive chimpanzees with an apparatus that gave them a choice: a chimpanzee could serve only itself with food, or it could select an alternative option giving both it and another chimp the same food.

The scientists report the chimpanzees were no more likely to choose the second option, even though they could see it would help a friend at no cost to themselves.

The results suggest chimpanzees' actions are not motivated by other-regarding preferences. And the researchers said the lack of such consideration for other chimps was especially surprising since the chimpanzees used in the study had been living together in stable social groups for many years.

The study is detailed in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: How myths and tabloids feed on anomalies in science

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Apr 16, 2014

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

Apes unwilling to gamble when odds are uncertain

Nov 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans are known to play it safe in a situation when they aren't sure of the odds, or don’t have confidence in their judgments. We don’t like to choose the unknown.

Chimps, like humans, focus on faces

Jul 23, 2009

A chimp's attention is captured by faces more effectively than by bananas. A series of experiments described in BioMed Central's open access journal Frontiers in Zoology suggests that the apes are wired to res ...

Recommended for you

How myths and tabloids feed on anomalies in science

6 minutes ago

There are many misconceptions about science, including how science advances. One half-truth is that unexpected research findings produce crises, leading to new theories that overturn previous scientific knowledge.

And now the Acropolis is crumbling...

14 hours ago

Just when Greece thought it had come through the worst of the crisis it was hit by a new blow Wednesday—the Acropolis is crumbling.

Power can corrupt even the honest

21 hours ago

When appointing a new leader, selectors base their choice on several factors and typically look for leaders with desirable characteristics such as honesty and trustworthiness. However once leaders are in power, can we trust ...

Learning at 10 degrees north

22 hours ago

Secluded beaches, calypso music and the entertaining carnival are often what come to mind when thinking of the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. But Dal Earth Sciences students might first consider Trinidad's ...

User comments : 0