Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior

Date:
June 12, 2014
Source:
Emory Health Sciences
Summary:
Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing. This finding addresses long-standing doubt about the level of cooperation chimpanzees are able to spontaneously achieve or understand.

The study apparatus required that chimpanzees remove a barrier in order for another chimpanzee to simultaneously pull in a tray baited with food. The apparatus was mounted to the outdoor enclosure, allowing the chimpanzees to come and go as they wanted.
Credit: Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Without any pre-training or restrictions in partner choice among chimpanzees, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, found for the first time that chimpanzees housed in a socially complex, contained setting spontaneously cooperate with multiple partners of their choosing. This finding, which addresses long-standing doubt about the level of cooperation chimpanzees are able to spontaneously achieve or understand, is published in the June 12 issue of PeerJ.

"Cooperation among primates has attracted considerable research because of the evolutionary implications that such research has for human behavior and the ubiquity of cooperation among wild primates," says lead author Malini Suchak, PhD.

"Cooperation is often regarded as less puzzling than altruistic behavior, but only in an evolutionary sense. In the moment, cooperation often consists of a series of potentially complex decisions involving a choice of partners. When multiple partners are available, an individual must consider with whom to cooperate, if that individual has been a good partner previously, how much to invest in the partner, what to expect in return and if the cooperation will yield more benefits than solitary effort," Suchak continues.

In the study, which included Yerkes researchers Frans de Waal, PhD, Matt Campbell, PhD, and Tim Eppley, Suchak found the chimpanzees spontaneously cooperated 3,565 times over the course of 94 one-hour sessions. The chimpanzees' success rate and efficiency increased over time, whereas the amount of pulling in the absence of a partner decreased, demonstrating the animals had learned they needed a partner to succeed.

Suchak's study participants were all 11 members of a chimpanzee social group housed at the Yerkes Research Center Field Station in a large outdoor enclosure, which is a more complex environment than typical testing situations. In addition to allowing the chimpanzees to freely choose with which of their group mates they wanted to cooperate, Suchak's study is unique because it included dyadic and triadic cooperation, and it explored the dynamics of female cooperation, all of which can help provide information on the evolution of cooperative tendencies.

The study apparatus required that one chimpanzee (in the dyadic condition) or two chimpanzees (in the triadic condition) remove a barrier in order for another chimpanzee to simultaneously pull in a tray baited with food. The apparatus was mounted to the outdoor enclosure, allowing the chimpanzees to come and go as they wanted within each one-hour session.

"That the chimpanzees preferentially approached the apparatus when kin or non-kin of similar rank were present shows a preference for socially tolerant partners, and this demonstrates that in the midst of a complex social environment, chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain a high level of cooperative behavior," Suchak says.

"Because previous research could only elicit cooperation in a much more controlled setting, we thought more complex, cooperative behavior might have uniquely evolved in humans. This study demonstrates chimpanzees are more cooperative than we realized, and we've yet to fully explore the extent of the similarities between chimpanzee and human behavior in this regard," Suchak concludes.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Malini Suchak, Timothy M. Eppley, Matthew W. Campbell, Frans B.M. de Waal. Ape duos and trios: spontaneous cooperation with free partner choice in chimpanzees. PeerJ, 2014; 2: e417 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.417

Cite This Page:

Emory Health Sciences. "Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085345.htm>.
Emory Health Sciences. (2014, June 12). Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085345.htm
Emory Health Sciences. "Chimpanzees spontaneously initiate and maintain cooperative behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140612085345.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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