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: Human ancestors could hold the key to early diagnosis of bone disease

Related Stories

Will social media kill branding?

16 minutes ago

For decades, corporations used a steadfast formula in branding a product: big advertising investments that produced customer awareness and built a positive product reputation. By investing heavily in and ...

Industrial virtual factory lowers costs and reduces emissions

26 minutes ago

In collaboration with European companies and research institutes, VTT has developed a cloud-based, easily customized, modular software platform for improving the sustainability performance of industrial products by lowering ...

Recommended for you

Why be creative on social media?

1 hour ago

There are five motivators for creating novel content online, whether blog posts, shared news stories, images, photos, songs, videos or any of the other digital artifacts users of social media and social networking sites share ...

Inoculating against science denial

2 hours ago

Science denial has real, societal consequences. Denial of the link between HIV and AIDS led to more than 330,000 premature deaths in South Africa. Denial of the link between smoking and cancer has caused ...

Report details benefits of investment in basic research

3 hours ago

Last year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.