Bootylicious! Chimpanzees Can Identify Other Fellow Chimpanzees By Their Butts!
One of the ways people can identify and distinguish someone is through their faces. Our evolutionary cousins, the chimpanzees, can also do that. But a recent study claims that chimpanzees can easily identify another chimpanzee by their butts! It is like Destiny Child's Bootylicious song was the chimpanzee's national anthem, because clearly, the chimpanzees can handle this.
According to neuropsychologist Marisa Kret, human beings can immediately recognize each other from their faces but so can chimpanzee, too. In her study published in PLOS ONE, Marisa Kret studies if chimpanzees can recognize each other by their butts.
It seems the case of the chimpanzees immediately recognizing each other's butts is the same for the human beings' ability to recall each other faces. In human beings, faces are important not only so they can recognize each other but also to gauge attractiveness and health. Just like human beings, the chimpanzees not only look at butts to identify each other but also to check for attractiveness and health.
In psychology, there is such a thing called face inversion effect. Face inversion effect is the ability for a person's brain to immediately recognize a face. However, when the face is inverted, the brain is slow to recognize it. Objects, whether inverted or not, can be easily recognized by the brain.
Researchers also notice the same psychological makeup in chimpanzees but with butts. The chimpanzee's brain can immediately identify a butt only when it is upright. If the butt is inverted, the chimpanzees are slow to recognize it just like how inverted faces are slow to be recognized by human beings.
Based on this observation, neuropsychologist Marisa Kret concludes that like humans, chimpanzees prioritize identifying each other through their butts as humans are to each other's faces. This creates a shortcut in the brain that is quick to recognize faces for humans and butts for chimpanzees.
The researchers also found out that this behavior has affected the evolution of the species. For humans, women developed breasts that are unique as the butts of female chimpanzees. The arrangement of the features of the face is to optimize visibility with each other. The color red also plays an important role in recognition as it not only enhances the different emotions but it also signals sexual attractiveness.