Scientists discover for the first time that young monkeys brag to their parents

(ORDO NEWS) — In recent years, many examples have accumulated of how behavior previously recorded only in humans is observed in animals.

Now, to the long list of dancing rats and crows using tools to carry weights, chimpanzees have been added, who attract the attention of relatives not for the sake of obtaining food or help, but “just like that”.

Any parent must be familiar with the situation when a child begins to uncontrollably poke his finger at the surrounding objects, not in order to be given them, but simply to share information with an adult.

For example, when walking down the street, kids point out (and announce it quite loudly) at cars passing by, and on the playground they happily show their parents the stones, leaves and other people’s toys they have found.

Until now, this form of behavior was considered exclusively human, while in primates, pointing gestures were recorded only in situations where the pointer needed something – food or help.

However, now it turned out that not only ours, but also monkey children can point a finger at everything: in wild chimpanzees, for the first time, a case was recorded when a young female showed her mother a leaf of a tree “just like that.”

An international team of researchers observed wild chimpanzees in the forests of Uganda in eastern Africa and recorded more than 80 behaviors in which chimpanzees used leaves.

But while monkeys usually displayed leaves for a specific purpose offering food to a relative or inviting them to play on one occasion, a young female Fiona showed a leaf to her Sutherland mother for no specific purpose.

According to paper co-author Kathryn Slocombe of the University of York, UK, this newly identified case of “attention for the sake of attention” not only blurs the lines between human and animal minds, but also raises new questions about why humans share experiences more often than our closest relatives.

Perhaps further study of such behavior in chimpanzees will allow scientists to explain the evolution of the cognitive functions that underlie human social behavior and determine which of our traits – for example, an unbridled love for attracting others’ attention just for the sake of attention itself – lie at the origin of the human mind.


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