Chimps who work together know what their partners need to achieve a goal, and they're happy to lend a helping hand, recent research finds.
The study demonstrates that humans' close primate relatives are true team players, perhaps revealing the evolutionary roots of human cooperation, said study leader Alicia Melis, a behavioral scientist at Warwick Business School in the United Kingdom.
"This study provides the first evidence that one of our closest primate relatives, the chimpanzees, not only intentionally coordinate actions with each other, but that they even understand the necessity to help a partner performing her role," Melis said in a statement.
Chimp cooperation Researchers knew that chimps work together, but Melis and her colleagues wanted to explore the level of collaboration going on during these bouts of teamwork. Many animals work together, for example to defend territory or hunt, but their actions are often independent even as they work toward the same goal, Melis said.
Twelve chimpanzees at the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya participated in the experiment. Chimps at this sanctuary are rescued orphans from the pet and bush-meat trades.