Chimp Sign Language 'Dictionary' Created
Chimps are smart, sassy and funny, especially when dressed up like little people. But did you know that they’re much more like us than we might realize? For one, they’re cold-blooded killers, carrying out brutal raids on other chimp groups to expand their territory. The attacks are most often done by patrolling packs of male chimps that are "quiet and move with stealth," according to the study’s lead author, John Mitani of the University of Michigan. And it works for them: they get land, extra food and resources, and even better access to females.Chimps Engage in 'War' for Turf
Male chimpanzees have spines on their penises that likely increase stimulation during mating, according to a study in Nature. Human males once had them too, but they dropped this trait. Lucky for the ladies –- or unlucky, as the case may be -- because the penis spines, while improving stimulation, can also be pret-ty painful for females during intercourse.Chimps Have Better Sex Than Humans
Chimps looove green monkey oranges and will go to great lengths to open the stubborn fruit. In fact, three chimpanzee groups opened the fruit in different ways, showing that chimps can innovate. The chimps, all living in Zambia, invented eight different ways to get inside the hard-shelled fruit: bang it against a tree or a rock; throw it; nibble a hole; go at it with your teeth; smack the fruits together; stomp on it; and peel it.Chimps Invent 8 Ways to Open Hard Fruits
Tickle chimps and what do you think happens? That’s right, they giggle like children. Their laughter comes in the same sorts of situations as humans, sounds like a human and they laugh more than we do, since they can do it while inhaling AND exhaling. Other animals giggle too when tickled, including rats and puppies.Apes Giggle Like Humans
When you’re working with someone on a project, you follow along with what they’re doing and offer them help when you sense they need it, right? Chimps do the same thing, sharing a tool or physically chipping in on team projects. And once they learn to help a friend out one time, they’ll do it up to 97 percent of the time.Chimps Trade Tools To Help Out Pals
Videos of chimp colonies show our closest cousins treating each other in dying and death much like we do. In one video, two chimps kept a vigil over a dying community member, touching and grooming her. In another, a mother shoos flies away from her recently deceased infant. Mother chimps have also been seen carrying dead babies around for weeks after they pass, some until they’re mummified.Chimps Face Death Like Humans Do
Chimpanzees use their hands to say "follow me," "stop that" or "take this," according to new research seeking to translate the sophisticated messages flowing back and forth.
Previous research had revealed that our nearest genetic relatives use gestures to communicate, prompting questions over whether the communication systems shared ancestry with the origins of human language.
The new study, published Thursday in the journal Current Biology, created the first-ever chimpanzee dictionary of sorts, deciphering just what the apes were saying to each other.
The researchers said the chimpanzee gestures -- they decoded 66 in total -- can be used in isolation or several can be strung together to create more complex exchanges.
And, importantly, the meaning remained consistent, regardless of which ape was making the gestures.
The messages ranged from "simple requests associated with just a few gestures to broader social negotiation associated with a wider range of gesture types," said the authors from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
The researchers studied more than 4,500 gestures within more than 3,400 interactions, all captured on film in Uganda between 2007 and 2009.
They determined that when a mother shows the sole of her foot to her baby, she means "climb on me." Touching the arm of another means "scratch me" and chewing leaves calls for sexual attention.
The researchers said their observations revealed unambiguous links between some gestures and outcomes -- like the seductive message of leaf-chewing.
Others seemed to convey more than one idea, like grasping another chimp, which sometimes seemed to indicate "stop," and other times "climb on me" or even "go away."