(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE

 

A new study shows humans aren’t the only species willing to go out of their way to help a stranger. In fact, one species of ape actually prefers helping strangers.


Bonobos are tied with chimpanzees as humanity’s closest cousins, but the two species couldn’t have more different personalities. While chimps have been known to actually go to war with other groups, bonobos prefer the “make love, not war” approach. (Video via ARKive)

Previous research has shown bonobos are way more generous than chimps, even when urged not to be.

“In one experiment ... younger chimps acted similarly to bonobos in their willingness to share, but older chimps were less willing to do so. Even when coaxed to hoard, bonobos continued to be generous.” (Via LiveScience)

So researchers set out to test just how far the gentle apes took their generosity, and the results surprised them.

They set up experiments so that an ape had the option of either keeping a bunch of food to himself or sharing with a stranger. (Via PLOS One)

The apes overwhelmingly opted to share, but here’s the weird part: they were more likely to share with total strangers than with friends. (Video via Duke University)

In similar kinds of tests, humans will also share with strangers, but not at the expense of friends. (Via Oxford University)

And chimps, well, they don’t share food at all. A Duke University researcher says the study shows bonobos just have different priorities.

“‘It seems kind of crazy to us, but bonobos prefer to share with strangers … They’re trying to extend their social network.’ And they apparently value that more than maintaining the friendships they already have.”

To a bonobo, the social interaction they get from meeting a new ape is worth more than food.

They’ll even work to help an ape when they get no benefit — but there’s a limit.

One experiment allowed an ape to share with a stranger, but the apes were in separate rooms and couldn’t interact, plus it cost them food. Guess who suddenly got all stingy?

A researcher told NPR the study could give us hints at how hospitality evolved in humans — we, like bonobos, get something intangible out of the deal.

“Good conversation, future business partners, a broader social network – maybe even romance. Perhaps bonobos see those potential payoffs in a meal shared, too.”

Bonobos Share Food to Make New Friends

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Jan 3, 2013

Bonobos Share Food to Make New Friends

 

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

 

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN

ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE

 

A new study shows humans aren’t the only species willing to go out of their way to help a stranger. In fact, one species of ape actually prefers helping strangers.


Bonobos are tied with chimpanzees as humanity’s closest cousins, but the two species couldn’t have more different personalities. While chimps have been known to actually go to war with other groups, bonobos prefer the “make love, not war” approach. (Video via ARKive)

Previous research has shown bonobos are way more generous than chimps, even when urged not to be.

“In one experiment ... younger chimps acted similarly to bonobos in their willingness to share, but older chimps were less willing to do so. Even when coaxed to hoard, bonobos continued to be generous.” (Via LiveScience)

So researchers set out to test just how far the gentle apes took their generosity, and the results surprised them.

They set up experiments so that an ape had the option of either keeping a bunch of food to himself or sharing with a stranger. (Via PLOS One)

The apes overwhelmingly opted to share, but here’s the weird part: they were more likely to share with total strangers than with friends. (Video via Duke University)

In similar kinds of tests, humans will also share with strangers, but not at the expense of friends. (Via Oxford University)

And chimps, well, they don’t share food at all. A Duke University researcher says the study shows bonobos just have different priorities.

“‘It seems kind of crazy to us, but bonobos prefer to share with strangers … They’re trying to extend their social network.’ And they apparently value that more than maintaining the friendships they already have.”

To a bonobo, the social interaction they get from meeting a new ape is worth more than food.

They’ll even work to help an ape when they get no benefit — but there’s a limit.

One experiment allowed an ape to share with a stranger, but the apes were in separate rooms and couldn’t interact, plus it cost them food. Guess who suddenly got all stingy?

A researcher told NPR the study could give us hints at how hospitality evolved in humans — we, like bonobos, get something intangible out of the deal.

“Good conversation, future business partners, a broader social network – maybe even romance. Perhaps bonobos see those potential payoffs in a meal shared, too.”

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