Bonobos explain the evolution of human kindness
Bonobos are pretty similar to little chimpanzees. But what surprises scientists the most is that bonobos and chimpanzees often perform in different ways, despite their similarities from the genetic point of view. Moreover, human behavior seems to include aspects of both kinds. For example, chimpanzees often rely on cunning, while bonobos prefer cooperation and exchange.
Bonobos differ from others in their enthusiasm to share, which has been experimentally proven. These experiments were carried out by a team of anthropology professors. They were held in a special laboratory that has room-sized cells and a spot where scientists can watch what is going on.
In one of the tests, scientists locate two bonobos in nearby rooms. They provided one of the primates a bowl of food such as bananas or apples. The bonobos with food had an option: eat alone or use a key to allow their friend in. They were shocked to detect that the friend is more valuable than the food they love.
Later, scientists held the test again but already with three bonobos, one of which was a newcomer. This time, bonobos with food first share with a stranger and then ask a friend to participate. During another test, scientists discovered that bonobos are ready to aid each other get food, even if they know they can’t share it.
Scientists believe this helped Homo sapiens outlive other early humans like Homo erectus. And this kind of collaboration has permitted us to share opinions, build huge nations, and explore other planets.
Bonobos are truly “full of empathy.” And the Italian team discovered that if one bonobo yawns, others will also yawn. This kind of behavior is closely associated with empathy.
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