A group of researchers analyzed the social behavior of two types of primates that share more than 98% of DNA with humans and observed some social customs, such as say hello and say goodbye, similar to people’s ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’.
Led by Raphaela Heesen, a researcher at Durham University (UK), the team evaluated 1,242 interactions between groups of chimpanzees and bonobos in zoos, in which he detected the meaning of the physical contact, like touching, holding hands, and bumping heads, and some crossed looks.
“Joint commitment as a process refers to the exchange of signals necessary for aspiring co-participants to come to a mutual belief that they are committed to a course of action in which each has their part to play.” they explained. In general, these shared actions consisted of playing or grooming.
As detailed, these attitudes appeared about 78% of the time among chimpanzees and 90% among bonobos. In these, the duration of that bond seemed to depend on social hierarchies, more egalitarian than chimpanzees. In addition, they detailed that the closer the participants were, the shorter their interactions were.
Faced with these observations, Heesen raised the question possibility that this joint social commitment casts doubt on the “claim so long defended” that this attitude is “something special about humans”, since “shared intentionality has been thought to be in the depths of human nature.” Finally, he pointed out that “it will be interesting to study whether this type of communication is present in other species.”
Selection of friends
Other studies have already relied on the social behavior of primates such as chimpanzees and found, for example, that as they age they become more selective in choosing their friends.
This was pointed out by an investigation carried out between 1995 and 2016 in the Kibale National Park, in Uganda, which detailed that the youngest specimens used to have a greater number of relationships than the old ones. However, among these there were more mutual friendships, with the interest of both individuals, and less one-sided.