‘Laid-back’ bonobos take a shine to belligerents | Science News


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‘Laid-back’ bonobos take a shine to belligerents

Cozying up to unhelpful peers, not cooperators, may motivate these apes

3:18pm, January 5, 2018

HELP UNWANTED  Bonobos, such as this adult male housed at an African sanctuary, prefer individuals who hinder others over those that help, a new study finds. In contrast, humans typically favor helpers over hinderers, starting in infancy.

Despite a reputation as mellow apes, bonobos have a thing for bad guys.

Rather than latching on to individuals with a track record of helpfulness, adult bonobos favor obstructionists who keep others from getting what they want. The result may help explain what differentiates humans’ cooperative skills from those of other apes, biological anthropologists Christopher Krupenye of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Brian Hare of Duke University report online January 4 in Current Biology.

Previous investigations indicate that, by 3 months old, humans do the opposite of bonobos, choosing to align more frequently with helpers than hinderers. Humans, unlike other apes, have evolved to seek cooperative partnerships that make large-scale collaborations possible (SN: 10/28/17, p.

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