Chimps are better at teamwork than anyone realized

Growing, I remember watching episodes of Sesame Street stressing how two or more people could accomplish a lot of more through cooperation. It was obvious that they considered it an important lesson. Child should learn to cooperate and work together because that made them better members of society. I imagine a lot of thinking was that it cut down on anti-social behavior as well. Now, research has indicated that maybe cooperation and teamwork were part of our genome even before we became humans.

Chimps are better at teamwork than anyone realized.

Each box housed a grape-dispensing mechanism that required the use of two non-interchangeable tools. From the back of the box, one chimp would move grapes into position with the use of a rake, while the chimp facing the front of the box inserted a stick to trigger the release of any grapes pushed into position by its partner. Retrieving the grapes therefore required the chimps to not only assume complementary roles, but aid one another in performing those roles.

The researchers concluded that this trait evolved before the human and chimp lines diverged and they’ve also confirmed similar behaviors the related species bonobos. Which means we’re not that far apart after all. Maybe with a little tweaking, we could see Rise of the Planet of the Apes after all.

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