(ORDO NEWS) — Chimpanzee monkeys are considered to be our closest relatives. The similarities between us lie not only in appearance, but also in genetics. Depending on the method of counting, the total genome of monkeys and humans ranges from 94 to 99%. Further along the similarity are gorillas, but we have much less common external and genetic features. Nevertheless, scientists from all over the world are trying to find the same lines between us.
Recently, one of them was discovered by researchers from the United States and Great Britain. For over ten years in a row, they have observed several groups of gorillas and found that they build friendships in much the same way as humans. That is, they always have a few “best friends”, and all the other individuals in the group remain just familiar to them. Also, the researchers noticed that among the gorillas there are both sociable merry fellows,
The genome is the totality of hereditary data contained in the cells of organisms. The genome contains instructions according to which every organism must develop.
The research results were published by ScienceAlert. As part of their scientific work, researchers have observed the life of 13 groups of gorillas from Rwanda (Africa) for 12 years. They were mainly interested in how these monkeys build friendships with each other. Other primates show friendliness through courtship, but gorillas do not. Therefore, scientists took the fact that individuals spent a long time next to each other as a sign of friendship. If two gorillas often sat side by side, it meant they were friends. If such meetings were rare, then they are just acquaintances.
During observations, the researchers found that these creatures also have a certain group of close friends. Friendships begin early in life and often progress into adulthood. However, over time, males move away from some “childhood friends”. The researchers attribute this to the fact that by limiting the promise, they prepare for an adult and independent life. But females do not do this and often retain their old acquaintances. In general, gorillas behave very much like humans.
What is Dunbar’s number?
It would be logical to assume that in large groups gorillas have more friends and in general their society becomes more complex and diverse. However, scientists have not found a relationship between group size and the number of friends in gorillas. It turns out that gorillas, like humans, can only support a strictly defined number of friends and acquaintances. A limited number of permanent social connections in the scientific community are usually called the Dunbar number. If the observations of British anthropologist Robin Dunbar are correct, the average person can only communicate with 150 people regularly. These include relatives, work colleagues and acquaintances who can meet on the street, shops, and so on.
Monkeys have a much lower Dunbar number. It is believed that humanoid primates can regularly communicate with a maximum of 50 individuals. Let’s say about 5 of them are close friends, and the other 45 are acquaintances with whom they may cross paths from time to time. In general, the number of acquaintances both among people and among acquaintances can vary greatly depending on their character. Scientists assure that in the world of monkeys there are enough both sociable individuals and shy ones with a narrow circle of friends.
Gorilla and man
Thus, maintaining friendships is another common trait between humans and gorillas. But do not forget about other similarities – for example, those that are at the genetic level. Until about 2016, it was believed that there are many differences in the human and gorilla genomes. However, in the course of studying the genome of 11-year-old gorilla Susie from the zoo in the American state of Ohio, scientists found much more in common. In short, the genomes of humans and gorillas differ by only 1.6%. Differences are only in the immune and reproductive systems, sensory perception, the structure of hair and nails, as well as the regulation of blood sugar.
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