Chimpanzees show objects to others, just like humans to simply grab attention: Study

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A new research has shown that Chimpanzees show each other objects just for the sake of it, akin to humans, to garner attention. 

The study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences cites the example of a wild adult chimpanzee named ‘Fiona’ in the Kibale national park of Uganda.

In a video that has been captured during the study, Fiona can be seen picking a leaf, examining it and later shoving it under her mother Sutherland’s nose momentarily, before snatching it back. 

“She’s not offering it for food. She doesn’t want her mum to do anything,” said Prof Katie Slocombe, a co-author of the study.

“She just wants them to look at it together, and be like ‘Oh, cool, nice!’,” added Slocombe. 

WATCH | Liberian Lab chimps finally get new lease of life after a life of ‘trauma’

The behaviour, previously thought to be unique to humans has intrigued scientists who believe that Chimpanzees might be much closer to humans than we had earlier predicted.

Scientists ruled out alternative explanations for the behaviours such as food sharing and playing or initiating grooming. They said if the motive was to share food, Fiona would have relinquished the possession of the lone leaf but in this case, she did not. 

The team of researchers have only recorded one instance of such behaviour but they are optimistic that similar examples can be found in future or previously collected footage.

Read more: In pics: Video conferencing brings chimpanzees in different zoos closer 

Notably, Chimps and humans shared a common ancestor millions of years ago. Scientists refer to Chimps as being the most “humanlike” non-human species as they can perform complicated tasks, such as tool use, which were long thought to be the sole preserve of mankind. 

Previously, a 12-year observational study found that Chimpanzees develop specific handshake-like gestures depending on their social group.

Read more: Chimpanzees learn ‘handshakes’ according to social group: Study

(With inputs from agencies)

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