February 25, 2021

Great apes gather to watch television – La Provincia

The great apes tend to join each other when they watch a video together, reproducing behavior that was believed to be restricted to humans when they watch a movie or a television show.

In their article published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Wouter Wolf, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and Michael Tomasello, of Duke University, have shown that chimpanzees and bonobos have similar experiences, and develop social bonds when they participate in shared events.

The experiments included sit chimpanzee couples together in front of a television so that they could watch a video, and the researchers took measurements of the type of union behavior once the video ended. Then they compared the behavior they observed with a control group. They report that the chimps who watched the videos together became involved in more bonding behaviors.

The videos watched by chimpanzees were from other chimpanzees who were engaged in various activities; Previous research had shown that it was his favorite subject. And chimpanzees were encouraged to stay there watching the video giving them grape juice. Investigators too they combined bonobos in the same way, and also chimpanzee-human couples. They report that in all cases, there was an increase in the link between the participants in the shared social events.

The researchers suggest that their results show that great apes are able to establish social bonds when they participate in shared events. They suggest that such types of social ties have deeper evolutionary roots than those that have been made. They also suggest that their findings hint at what is lost as humans stop participating in shared social events, and prefer instead to participate privately in social networks.


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