The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chimpanzees and Bonobos, Cooperative Behaviour

How much of our cooperative behaviour is human?

Brian Hare

Duke University, USA

A number of theorist have argued that many forms of human cooperation such as
helping and collaboration are unique to our species and may in part explain why our species is so different from other animals. At the same time field studies on primates? and in particular chimpanzees and bonobos ? have uncovered a number of joint activities that these species engage in and suggest that our closest relatives might also possess sophisticated skills that allow for flexible forms of cooperation. I report a series of experiments probing the cooperative problem solving skills of chimpanzees. The experiments were designed to not only test in what ways human cooperative behavior might be unique but also to help interpret the cooperative behavior observed in wild chimpanzees. By presenting different cooperative tasks to chimpanzees we have learned that their cooperation can indeed be characterized as helpful or collaborative, however we still are struggling to understand how the psychological mechanism that allow for such flexibility in humans and chimpanzees may still differ in critical ways. I will argue that to fully understand the evolution of human cooperation we will not only need to continue our examination of chimpanzee cooperation, but also our other more tolerant relative the bonobo. It is only through such careful comparative work with our closest relatives we will understand the cooperative nature of the human species.


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