Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When it comes to food, chimps only think of themselves

Date:
August 15, 2012
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
A sense of fairness is an important part of human behavior, yet a research team found it did not evolve from our closest living relatives. The study tested whether our great ape relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos, have a sense of fairness like humans.

Chimpanzee.
Credit: namatae / Fotolia

A sense of fairness is an important part of human behaviour, yet a research team involving Queen Mary, University of London found it did not evolve from our closest living relatives.

Related Articles


The study, published in the journal Biology Letters Aug. 15, tested whether our great ape relatives, the chimpanzees and bonobos, have a sense of fairness like humans.

The scientists, including Professor Keith Jensen, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, put the apes through a series of ultimatum games.

One against the other, they had to choose whether to steal or leave the other's grapes. The games were set up in a variety of different ways involving equal proportions of grapes and others were split with a higher proportion given to one over the other.

Professor Jensen explained: "In each scenario one ape had to choose whether to steal the grapes or leave a portion of grapes for the other. We found that consistently they would steal the food without taking into account whether their action would have an effect on their partner.

"Neither the chimpanzees nor bonobos seemed to care whether food was stolen or not, or whether the outcomes were fair or not, as long as they got something.

"Our findings support other studies of chimpanzees but also extend these to bonobos. Both apes have no concern for fairness or the effects that their choices may have on others; in stark contrast to the way humans behave.

"We can therefore conclude that our results indicate that our sense of fairness is a derived trait and may be unique to the human race.

"If fairness considerations are important for cooperative activities such as trading goods and services and sharing, the question then is, when did they evolve in our species? And if fairness is important only in humans, the question is why only in humans?"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. I. Kaiser, K. Jensen, J. Call, M. Tomasello. Theft in an ultimatum game: chimpanzees and bonobos are insensitive to unfairness. Biology Letters, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2012.0519

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "When it comes to food, chimps only think of themselves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093232.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2012, August 15). When it comes to food, chimps only think of themselves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093232.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "When it comes to food, chimps only think of themselves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120815093232.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Captive-Born Panda Triplets Are Eight Months Old

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) The world&apos;s only surviving captivity-born panda triplets turn eight months old, according to China’s state media. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

Lions Make Surprise Comeback in Gabon

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Lions have made a comeback in southeast Gabon, after disappearing for years, according to live footage from US wildlife organisation Panthera. Duration: 00:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

Ancient Egyptian Beer Making Vessels Discovered in Israel

AFP (Mar. 30, 2015) Fragments of pottery used by Egyptians to make beer and dating back 5,000 years have been discovered on a building site in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said on Sunday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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