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
If you ever run into a group of chimpanzees in a record store, you may find them congregating around the Indian classical section.
That's according to a new study that tested the musical tastes of humans' primate cousins. The researchers found that while chimpanzees shun the steadily strong beats common in Western genres, they like Indian ragas and Akan tunes from West Africa.
"Our objective was not to find a preference for different cultures' music," study co-author Frans de Waal, a primatologist at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a statement. Rather, the researchers used music from Africa, India and Japan to test how the primates reacted to specific acoustic characteristics, such as the ratio of strong to weak beats (or stressed to unstressed beats). [8 Humanlike Behaviors of Primates]
De Waal and colleagues said that similar studies in the past only tested how chimpanzees reacted to Western music. But even though the sounds of Western pop and classical might seem different to the casual listener, they share similar rhythmic patterns and intervals. Musical traditions from other cultures, however, may have fundamentally different properties. While a typical Western song might have one strong beat for every one to three weak beats, an Indian raga (or series of notes in a classical composition) might have one strong beat for every 31 weak beats in a long rhythmic cycle.
Previous studies that focused on Western tunes found that primates preferred silence over any kind of human music. One study, published in the journal Cognition in 2007, found that marmosets and tamarins would rather listen to no music than Mozart or a lullaby. For the new study, the researchers looked outside the Western canon and used Indian ragas, Japanese taiko and music from the Akan culture in West Africa.
Every morning for 12 days, the researchers played 40 minutes of music in the outdoor enclosures of 16 adult chimpanzees at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. They discovered that chimps spent more time in areas where they could best hear the African and Indian music, but they fled to the quietier parts of their enclosure when the researchers played Japanese taiko music, which uses regular strong beats like Western music.
These apparent preferences could have something to do with the chimps' own music-making.
"Chimpanzees may perceive the strong, predictable rhythmic patterns as threatening, as chimpanzee dominance displays commonly incorporate repeated rhythmic sounds such as stomping, clapping and banging objects," de Waal said.
The findings, published June 23, are available online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition.
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