Targeted helping and cooperation in zoo-living chimpanzees and bonobos
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Directly comparing the prosocial behaviour of our two closest living relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, is essential to deepening our understanding of the evolution of human prosociality. We examined whether helpers of six dyads of chimpanzees and bonobos transferred tools to a conspecific. In the experiment ‘Helping’, transferring a tool did not benefit the helper, while in the experiment ‘Cooperation’, the helper only obtained a reward by transferring the correct tool. Chimpanzees did not share tools with conspecifics in either experiment, except for a mother–daughter pair, where the mother shared a tool twice in the experiment ‘Helping’. By contrast, all female–female bonobo dyads sometimes transferred a tool even without benefit. When helpers received an incentive, we found consistent transfers in all female–female bonobo dyads but none in male–female dyads. Even though reaching by the bonobo receivers increased the likelihood that a transfer occurred, we found no significant species difference in whether receivers reached to obtain tools. Thus, receivers' behaviour did not explain the lack of transfers from chimpanzee helpers. This study supports the notion that bonobos might have a greater ability to understand social problems and the collaborative nature of such tasks.
Nolte , S & Call , J 2021 , ' Targeted helping and cooperation in zoo-living chimpanzees and bonobos ' , Royal Society Open Science , vol. 8 , no. 3 , 201688 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.201688
Royal Society Open Science
Copyright © 2021 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
DescriptionFunding: European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework 819 Programme (FP7/2017-2013) under grant agreement No. 609819 – SOMICS.
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