Great apes make great chants: Young orangutans like to tease their elders by pulling their hair, new study finds

Great apes make great chants: Young orangutans like to tease their elders by pulling their hair, a new study has found.

A boisterous young chimpanzee slaps an adult in his family on the back, then runs away and looks back to see the reaction to his rudeness.

Still nothing, so the young chimp Ezebu steps back and gives another slap, this time provoking a reaction: the disturbed adult swipes half-heartedly in his direction, shooing away the disturbed youth—though Not for long.

The scene, recorded at Germany’s Leipzig Zoo, is just one of many analyzes by scientists showing that great apes are as playful as small human babies.

Because all four great ape species have been recorded teasing each other, the “cognitive conditions for joking” may have evolved in a common ancestor millions of years ago, scientists said in a new study Wednesday.

The researchers cataloged a wide range of classic gypsies. A monkey will offer another object, only to withdraw it at the last second. Or they will prevent their mark from grabbing what they want. Other tricksters simply did the opposite of what they were told. Some just liked to jump.

Much of this behavior is common in human infants, starting at about eight months, which is extremely unnecessary.

Somewhere between normal play and aggression, playful flirting involves anticipating others’ reactions and enjoying going against their expectations, according to the journal study. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Lead author Isabelle Laumer told AFP the researchers were surprised that the senseless teasing “rarely resulted in any aggressive behaviour”.

Laumer said the great primatologist Jane Goodall first observed that young chimpanzees “sometimes disturb older animals while they are sleeping by jumping on them or playfully biting them or pulling their hair.” .

“Even the adults reacted quite calmly to it,” added Laumer, a cognitive biologist and primatologist at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany.

Trouble with planning: Young chimpanzees are just as playful as human babies, says a new study.

Trouble with planning: Young chimpanzees are just as playful as human babies, says a new study.

Aping around

The team, which included researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, analyzed 75 hours of video of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas and orangutans in zoos.

Focusing on one adolescent of each species, the researchers identified 18 different teasing behaviors.

Not surprisingly, chimpanzees were the funniest entrepreneurs. They liked to slap or generally get in the way of a sleeping adult. Orangutans showed skill in pulling hair. The guerrillas were fans of that most traditional of provocations: the push.

As Azibo points out, most interactions involve a young person who starts teasing an adult, then repeats the gesture until they get a response.

In a quarter of the interactions, the initial target turned the tables on the joke, teasing them.

This can turn into more traditional play, in which the monkeys wrestle, chase, prank or tickle each other.

The researchers emphasized that such play takes two, but playful flirting should be asymmetric—one has to target the other.

The cognitive ability to engage in such pranks existed at least 13 million years ago in the common ancestor of humans and all modern primates, he said.

But beyond laughter, what is the purpose of this constant banter between the monkeys?

Laumer declined to speculate.

But he asked for it such teasing helps “test social boundaries”, creates mutual enjoyment and therefore potentially strengthens the bond between the prankster and their prankster.

More information:
Spontaneous playful flirtation in the four great monkey species, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2024). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2023.2345. royalsocietypublishing.org/doi … .1098/rspb.2023.2345

© 2024 AFP

Reference: Old joke: Apes like to tease, too, meaning trait may be ancient (2024, February 18) Retrieved February 18, 2024, from https://phys.org/news/2024-02-apes-trait-ancient.html went

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