Navigation Links
Chimpanzees help each other on request but not voluntarily
Date:10/14/2009

The evolution of altruism has long puzzled researchers and has mainly been explained previously from ultimate perspectivesI will help you now because I expect there to be some long-term benefit to me. However, a new study by researchers at the Primate Research Institute (PRI) and the Wildlife Research Center (WRC) of Kyoto University shows that chimpanzees altruistically help conspecifics, even in the absence of direct personal gain or immediate reciprocation, although the chimpanzees were much more likely to help each other upon request than voluntarily. The findings are published October 14 in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

Shinya Yamamoto and colleagues studied six pairs of chimpanzees (three mother-offspring pairs and three non-kin adult pairs) in two different experiments, designed to test whether the chimpanzees would transfer a tool to a conspecific even if doing so would bring no immediate benefit to themselves. In each case, two chimpanzees would be situated in two adjacent, transparent booths, either in a straw-use situation where the chimpanzee would need access to a straw to be able to drink the juice box available to it, or in a stick-use situation where the chimpanzee would need access to a stick to drag a juice reward back into the booth.

In the first experiment, the two chimpanzees would have access to the opposite tool needed to obtain the reward in their booththe chimpanzee that needed the straw would have access to the stick and vice-versa. In the second experiment, the mother-offspring pairs were tested in a situation where there was no opportunity for reciprocation because each individual was assigned a fixed rolegiver or recipientfor 24 trials (one week's worth) before the roles were reversed.

The researchers found that the chimpanzees did spontaneously transfer tools in order to help their partner. This tool transfer occurred predominantly after the partner had actively solicited help (by poking its arm through a hole in the booth, for example, or by clapping), even when there was no hope of reciprocation from the partner (as in experiment 2) and even when the two animals were unrelated.

"Communicative interactions play an important role in altruism in chimpanzees," said Dr Yamamoto. "While humans may help others without being solicited, the chimpanzees rarely voluntarily offered an effective tool to a struggling partner. Indeed, simple observation of another's failed attempts did not elicit voluntary helping in chimpanzees."

Helping upon request may be a more economical and effective strategy. Altruistic behavior by definition produces no direct immediate benefit to the actor; making a request is a clear indicator to the actor that the recipient requires help, minimizing the risk to the actor of unnecessarily behaving altruistically. In this sense, "help upon request" is an ideal strategy since the helping is always helpful and not wasted. This type of altruism may have initially driven the prevalence and development of altruism during human evolution.

One important question for future research is whether high-frequency, voluntary altruism is a behaviour unique to humans. Some new world monkeys have demonstrated unsolicited prosociality suggesting that voluntary altruism evolved in phylogeneticallydiverse taxa but for now, there seems to be no consensus on what is the decisive factorin explaining species differences.


'/>"/>

Contact: Rebecca Walton
rwalton@plos.org
44-122-346-3333
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetic differences between yeasts greater than those between humans and chimpanzees
2. In a last stronghold for endangered chimpanzees, survey finds drastic decline
3. Key impact hunters catalyze hunting among male chimpanzees
4. Wild chimpanzees appear not to regularly experience menopause
5. Fair play in chimpanzees
6. Black rat does not bother Mediterranean seabirds
7. Why one way of learning is better than another
8. How mitochondrial gene defects impair respiration, other major life functions
9. How proteins talk to each other
10. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy
11. Key feature of immune system survived in humans, other primates for 60 million years
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass ... and VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice ... security and usability. ... new partnership. "This marketing and technology ...
(Date:5/12/2016)... , May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com ... just published the overview results from the Q1 wave ... the recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a program ... data with a health insurance company. "We ... to share," says Michael LaColla , CEO of ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... VILNIUS, Lithuania , May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... today released the MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification ... deployment of large-scale multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can ... and accuracy using any combination of fingerprint, face ... of MegaMatcher SDK and MegaMatcher ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers use the z-dimension ... are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of 20mm. Z-dimension ... bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several Agilent flow cell ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... Plate® YM (Yeast and Mold) microbial test has received AOAC Research Institute approval ... of microbial tests introduced last year,” stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the launch of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., ... the future of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: