Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Social Tolerance Allows Bonobos To Outperform Chimpanzees On A Cooperative Task

Date:
March 9, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
In experiments designed to deepen our understanding of how cooperative behavior evolves, researchers have found that bonobos, a particularly sociable relative of the chimpanzee, are more successful than chimpanzees at cooperating to retrieve food, even though chimpanzees exhibit strong cooperative hunting behavior in the wild. The work suggests that some social tendencies or emotions that are adaptive under certain circumstances, such as aggression during competition for mates, can hinder the potential for problem solving under other circumstances, such as sharing of a food resource.

In experiments designed to deepen our understanding of how cooperative behavior evolves, researchers have found that bonobos, a particularly sociable relative of the chimpanzee, are more successful than chimpanzees at cooperating to retrieve food, even though chimpanzees exhibit strong cooperative hunting behavior in the wild.

The work suggests that some social tendencies or emotions that are adaptive under certain circumstances--such as aggression during competition for mates--can hinder the potential for problem solving under other circumstances, such as sharing of a food resource. The findings appear online in the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, on March 8th and are reported by a team led by Brian Hare of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Duke University.

By comparing the ability of bonobos and chimpanzees to cooperate in retrieving food, the researchers addressed two hypotheses. The first, the so-called "emotional reactivity hypothesis," predicts that bonobos will cooperate more successfully, because past observations have indicated that they are more tolerant of other individuals than are chimpanzees. In contrast, the second hypothesis, the "hunting hypothesis," predicts that chimpanzees will cooperate more successfully, thanks to their known ability to cooperatively hunt in the wild.

The researchers found that, consistent with the first hypothesis, bonobos were more tolerant in their behavior toward other bonobos, and they did indeed exhibit more skill in cooperative feeding than did chimpanzees. For example, two bonobos were more likely to both eat when presented with food in a single dish (rather than two separate dishes) than were chimpanzees faced with a similar feeding scenario.

Bonobos also exhibited significantly more sociosexual behavior and play than did chimpanzees under these circumstances. In a related set of experiments, bonobos were found to be better than chimpanzees at cooperating (e.g., by simultaneously pulling a rope) to retrieve food that was not easily divisible--that is, food that might be easily monopolized by one of the two individuals.

These observations were consistent with the "emotional reactivity hypothesis" because they potentially reflect the ability of bonobos to tolerate the presence of one another in feeding contexts. The findings also run counter to the "hunting hypothesis," which predicts that chimpanzees--owing to their cooperative hunting skills--would outperform bonobos in cooperative feeding even when food wasn't easily divisible.

The authors report that the new work is of particular value because it provides an experimental comparison of social tolerance and cooperation in bonobos and chimpanzees--two closely related species that help inform our understanding of how social behavior evolved in the primate lineage. The findings suggest that one way in which the skill of social problem solving can arise is through evolutionary selection on emotional systems, such as those controlling fear and aggression.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Social Tolerance Allows Bonobos To Outperform Chimpanzees On A Cooperative Task." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 March 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308121928.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, March 9). Social Tolerance Allows Bonobos To Outperform Chimpanzees On A Cooperative Task. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308121928.htm
Cell Press. "Social Tolerance Allows Bonobos To Outperform Chimpanzees On A Cooperative Task." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070308121928.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins