Just like enterprising humans, chimpanzees can be good team players to achieve their goals, according to a new study. The findings, published in Biology Letters, give a glimpse into the possible origins of human cooperative behavior.
With the lure of a juicy grape before them and two specialized tools in hand, chimps were able to work in pairs and free the fruit from a complex trap, according to a pair of European researchers working at the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya.
"Chimpanzees not only coordinate different roles, but they also know which particular action the partner needs to perform,” the authors wrote, arguing that "many of chimpanzees' limitations in collaboration are, perhaps, more motivational than cognitive."
Researchers have debated whether chimps can work cooperatively for common purpose. Some have described their group hunts in the wild as coordinated, while others looking at different populations have described them as haphazard.