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Old 09-29-2002, 01:04 PM   #1
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More ways in which Chimpanzees are like us

I thought the last paragraph was particularly touching.


Chasm between chimps and us narrows but it's still deep

List of similarities grows as long-term ape studies and new technologies bear fruit

By Robert Boyd
SPECIAL TO THE TORONTO STAR


WASHINGTON - THANKS TO NEW observations and experiments, researchers are finding ever more ways in which chimpanzees resemble human beings and vice versa.

Chimps, for example, crack nuts using stone hammers quite like the crude tools our human ancestors employed until about 5,000 years ago. Mother apes teach their children, by demonstration and imitation, much as human mothers do.

Some primatologists people who study apes and monkeys even go so far as to use the distinctly human word "friendship" to describe the buddy-buddy relationship between male chimps who spend a lot of time hanging out together.

Although people and chimpanzees the most advanced members of the primate family share 98 per cent of their genes, there are obviously vast differences between creatures inside and outside of the zoo. Scientists say the two species descended from a common set of ancestors 5 million to 7 million years ago but no one would mistake a modern ape for a Wall Street stockbroker.

"That chasm (between chimps and humans) is indeed narrow but very deep," says Vincent Sarich, a retired evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

Nevertheless, the list of similarities is growing as long-term studies of ape communities, in captivity and in the wild, reach their fifth decade and as new research technologies, such as DNA analysis and electronic brain scans, enter scientists' repertoire.

The resemblances between humans and chimps are both physical such as an almost identical bone structure and behavioural, including ways of teaching infants, sharing things and making peace after a fight.

"It's pretty clear that apes are very smart and can make and use tools cruddy tools to be sure, but tools by anyone's definition," Jonathan Marks, an anthropologist at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, writes in his new book, What It Means To Be 98 Per Cent Chimpanzee.

Marks cautioned, however, against overdoing the parallels between apes and humans.

The fact that an animal shares 98 per cent of its DNA with humans does not mean it is 98 per cent human, he points out.

"They are beings like us but less than us," Marks says. "They are us minus something."

But Frans de Waal, a primatologist who has studied chimpanzees for more than 20 years at the Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta, says it was a mistake to deny the striking resemblances between the species.

"I see fundamental similarities between them and us," de Waal says. "The risk of overestimating the differences is greater than the risk of underestimating the differences."

Some of the similarities are in social behaviour. Chimpanzees trade food and services, such as picking lice off one another.

The animals "tend to reciprocate favours in kind or trade one kind of help for another," says Joan Silk, a primatologist at the University of Southern California at Los Angeles.

In the last few years, Silk says, researchers have begun to use what she calls "the F-word friendship" to describe close relationships among apes. Attributing such human qualities to animals used to be taboo.

"Lately, primatologists have become more relaxed about using the F-word," Silk wrote in a paper published last spring in the journal Behavior. "There is a new emphasis on the more positive features of animal behaviour, such as co-ordination, negotiation, reconciliation and co-operation."

Here are some of the ways in which chimpanzee behaviour resembles human behaviour:

Learning. A growing field of study is how young chimps learn from adults, and how that compares with the way human children learn. The biggest difference, of course, is language: humans have it, apes don't.

Researchers are experimenting with hard-to-open boxes containing food treats, which the animals have to figure out how to get into. The researchers found that chimps can pass on their new skill to their offspring, the way humans do.

By repeating the same experiment with humans, the researchers concluded that the two species learn by similar processes of imitation, although what chimps pick up tends to be a cruder copy than children's.

Andrew Whiten, a primatologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, says this was "the first clear evidence that children and chimpanzees learn the traditions of the community they live in by similar processes of imitation."

Culture. Primatologists report that chimpanzees have developed a multitude of different "cultures," which the scientists define as distinct patterns of behaviour, habits and knowledge that are handed down from generation to generation.

Whiten and his colleagues have identified more than 40 local variations in tool use among chimpanzees in various parts of Africa. For example, chimps in West Africa use stone tools to crack nuts; chimps in East Africa do not. Chimps in one part of Tanzania clasp hands over their heads after grooming each other; chimps 100 kilometres away do not.

"The evidence is overwhelming that chimpanzees have a remarkable ability to invent new customs and technologies and that they pass these on," de Waal wrote in Nature.

Ape cultures offer parallels to simple human customs, such as shaking hands or bowing. The varieties of chimpanzee behaviour are "the sorts of thing that if they occurred in human beings we would call them traditions," says William McGrew, a primatologist at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He likened them to the different ways Canadian and American soldiers salute their officers.

Reconciliation. Like warring nations, quarrelling spouses and squabbling children, chimpanzees have ways of patching things up after a fight. According to de Waal, chimps hug and kiss each other to make peace. A third animal may mediate a dispute between two others. Several chimps may join to break up a battle or console the loser.
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Old 09-29-2002, 01:14 PM   #2
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No sale.
Chimps are cute and have been around alot longer than us humans...on this planet.

I think this is a display of God's creativity..that he can make spieces similar
Im no monkey's nephew tho..

thank u

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Old 09-29-2002, 01:28 PM   #3
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I thought that last paragraph would appeal to YOU in particular diamond....what with all that mediating, breaking up brawls etc.....

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Old 09-29-2002, 01:36 PM   #4
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So 'Friendship' is the F-word? I don't know what the fuss is all about then...
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:37 PM   #5
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more evidence?

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Old 09-29-2002, 03:40 PM   #6
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Re: more evidence?

Quote:
Originally posted by deep
I see no humor in this
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:48 PM   #7
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Lighten up Diamond, where's your sense of humour?
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:49 PM   #8
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Do not worry, the primates will not be offended.

They are pretty thick skinned.
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Old 09-29-2002, 04:33 PM   #9
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Can we maybe NOT turn this into a political fracas?

deep and diamond, hug and make up.
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Old 09-29-2002, 04:41 PM   #10
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Hello,

I already thought I saw something familiar yesterday when I was at the Artis zoo in Amsterdam! The chimpanzees really had a lot of attention of the general public. I think that in the end everybody likes to be around your own kind.

BTW, I had most fun at the penguins section (it was feeding time then). I don't know what to make of this though...

C ya!

Marty
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Old 09-29-2002, 04:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by paxetaurora


deep and diamond, hug and make up.
We wont.
And-nobody's fighting

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