Bystanders May Influence Chimpanzees' Grooming Interactions

First Posted: Feb 11, 2016 04:20 PM EST

Researchers found that the presence of spectators and passersby can influence male adult chimpanzees' grooming interactions, according to study at the University of Kent. The research was conducted by Dr. Kaburu and Dr. Newton-Fisher, who found that bystanders had a major influence on the grooming decisions and interactions of chimpanzees.

The team noted that with the presence of large audiences and numerous bystanders, male chimps were less inclined to start or even continue with their grooming interaction. The researchers found that male chimps abandoned their attempts to groom one another and they were less likely to reciprocate any grooming activities.

The findings of the study indicated that male the chimps' decisions to participate in grooming interactions were mostly based on the presence of other social partners in the area. The grooming and social interaction of non-human primates are based on direct benefits from each other, rather than relationships based on trust, according to the researchers.

The team studied the behavior of chimps that belonged to community in the Mahale Mountains National Park in Tanzania. These chimps have been studied for the past 30 years, and are accustomed to human observation and grooming interactions.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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