Navigation Links
Origins of human teamwork found in chimpanzees
Date:3/19/2013

Teamwork has been fundamental in humanity's greatest achievements but scientists have found that working together has its evolutionary roots in our nearest primate relatives chimpanzees.

A series of trials by scientists found that chimpanzees not only coordinate actions with each other but also understand the need to help a partner perform their role to achieve a common goal.

Pairs of chimpanzees were given tools to get grapes out of a box. They had to work together with a tool each to get the food out. Scientists found that the chimpanzees would solve the problem together, even swapping tools, to pull the food out.

The study, published in Biology Letters, by scientists from Warwick Business School, UK, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sought to find out if there were any evolutionary roots to humans' ability to cooperate and coordinate actions.

Dr Alicia Melis, Assistant Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, said: "We want to find out where humans' ability to cooperate and work together has come from and whether it is unique to us.

"Many animal species cooperate to achieve mutually beneficial goals like defending their territories or hunting prey. However, the level of intentional coordination underlying these group actions is often unclear, and success could be due to independent but simultaneous actions towards the same goal.

"This study provides the first evidence that one of our closest primate relatives, the chimpanzees, not only intentionally coordinate actions with each other but that they even understand the necessity to help a partner performing her role in order to achieve the common goal.

"These are skills shared by both chimpanzees and humans, so such skills may have been present in their common ancestor before humans evolved their own complex forms of collaboration"

The study, revealed in a paper entitled Chimpanzees' (Pan troglodytes) strategic helping in a collaborative task, looked at 12 chimpanzees at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya, which provides lifelong refuge to orphaned chimpanzees, who have been illegally traded as pets or saved from the 'bushmeat' trade.

The chimpanzees were put into pairs, with one needed at the back and one at the front of a sealed plastic box. Through a hole the chimpanzee at the back had to push the grapes onto a platform using a rake. The chimpanzee at the front then had to use a thick stick and push it through a hole to tilt the platform so the grapes would fall to the floor and both could pick them up to eat.

One chimpanzee was handed both tools and they had to decide which tool to pass to the partner. Ten out of 12 individuals solved the task figuring out that they had to give one of the tools to their partner and in 73 per cent of the trials the chimpanzees chose the correct tool.

Dr Melis said: "There were great individual differences regarding how quickly they started transferring tools to their partner. However, after transferring a tool once, they subsequently transferred tools in 97 per cent of the trials and successfully worked together to get the grapes in 86 per cent of the trials.

"This study provides the first evidence that chimpanzees can pay attention to the partner's actions in a collaborative task, and shows they know their partner not only has to be there but perform a specific role if they are to succeed. It shows they can work strategically together just like humans do, working out that they not only need to work together but what roles each chimpanzee has to do in order to succeed.

"Although chimpanzees are generally very competitive when trying to gain access to food and would rather work alone and monopolize all the food rewards, this study shows that they are willing and able to strategically support the partner performing their role when their own success is dependent on the partner's."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kelly Parkes-Harrison
k.e.parkes@warwick.ac.uk
44-024-761-50868
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mainz University coordinates new EU project on the origins of human settlement
2. Mongolia and the Altai Mountains: Origins of genetic blending between Europeans and Asians
3. 23andMes Ancestry Composition reveals peoples ancestral origins going back 500+ years
4. Stem cell research helps to identify origins of schizophrenia
5. Entering an Unseen World: A Founding Laboratory and Origins of Modern Cell Biology 1910-1974
6. Molecules assemble in water, hint at origins of life
7. Untangling lifes origins
8. New genetic study confirms Indian origins of pumpkins and cucumbers
9. A new checklist confirms Indian origins of pumpkins and cucumbers
10. Nearby chimpanzee populations show much greater genetic diversity than distant human populations
11. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... WASHINGTON , Feb. 13, 2017 Former ... U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, Janice Kephart of ... regarding President Donald Trump,s "Executive Order: Protecting ... States" (Jan. 27, 2017):  "As President Trump,s ... 9th Circuit has now essentially banned the travel ban, ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... AWRE ), a leading supplier of biometrics software ... year ended December 31, 2016. Revenue for ... $6.9 million in the same quarter last year. Operating income ... to $2.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Net ... or $0.02 per diluted share, which compares to $1.8 million, ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... Minn. , Feb. 7, 2017   MedNet ... supports the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased ... iMedNet , its innovative, highly flexible and award ... iMedNet customers. iMedNet is a proven ... provides Electronic Data Capture (EDC), but also delivers an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... announce that Dr. Trevor Heritage has joined its executive team to lead the ... designed to provide insights to help improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... and manufacturing solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) , today announced it has ... Technologies’ third consecutive year winning in its category of electronics manufacturing services (EMS) ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 21, 2017 Scientists From Two ... by Plastic Industry  ... STEER, creator of advanced materials ... the fields of plastics, pharmaceuticals, food and nutraceuticals, biomaterials and ... leading science & technology company, on creating co-rotating twin ...
(Date:2/20/2017)... 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ) announced today ... and Fabrice Orecchioni, the company,s COO, has been named President, effective ... past four years, Fabrice has overseen the construction, start-up and operation ... the management of the Mitsui JV.  Fabrice has also been extensively ... JV. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: