Chimpanzee Altruism May Only Be ‘For The Mates’

Here is an interesting study attempting to unravel the foundations of altruism in the animal world:

‘Although chimps live in social groups and co-operate and hunt together, when it comes to helping non-related group members, they don’t put up with any monkey business.

When given the opportunity to help themselves and other chimps they often choose the selfish option, scientists report in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

“This is the first experiment to show that chimps don’t share the same concern for the welfare of others as do humans…

…They devised an experiment in which chimps on one side of a window could pull a handle to provide a tray of food for themselves or to also give the same reward to a monkey in another room on the opposite side of the window.

Both groups of unrelated chimpanzees behaved in a similar way. They decided to reward themselves but not others.

Interesting. But then I have seen dog on multiple occasions behave in ways that I would consider truly ‘altruistic’ – ie. helping other in situations where no indirect benefit could be derived. maybe it’s all in the culture and education (of animals).

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

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