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Sharing is learned in humans, not chimps, study says

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Even jointly gained resources are rarely shared by chimpanzees. (Credit: Felix Warneken)

From “Collaboration Encourages Equal Sharing in Children but Not in Chimpanzees
ScienceDaily (July 22, 2011)” (ScienceDaily, July 22, 2011) we learn:

Adult humans produce a vast majority of their resources in cooperative work with others. Moreover, they generally try to distribute them based on norms of fairness and equity. With regard to children, previous studies have shown that when adults provide rewards as a windfall and ask children to share, 3-year-olds behave rather selfishly.

However, the present studies show that even 3-year-olds do take note of whether or not rewards were produced collaboratively, which in turn affects their tendency to allocate the toys equally.

Chimpanzees, however,

did not share more often after collaboration than in a windfall situation. Also in the wild, they only rarely actively collaborate for subsistence. Therefore, they may not have evolved a tendency to distribute resources more equally when those resources result from a collaboration.

Oh? Why not?

How do we know there was any evolution involved? What if the trait is an outcome of high intelligence? In that case, there was no long slow series of steps, just a recognition of the concept of justice and the foreseeable outcome of its practice. But that recognition is not available to creatures lacking the ability to abstract.

“Evolution” is often just useless conceptual clutter in the repertoire of science,” to borrow a phrase.

Comments
This behaviour is the chimp version of 'no free lunch' (badoomp-boomp)Joseph
July 27, 2011
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There was an interesting study a while back that suggested that chimps were more rational and human children more imitative. It is hypthesized that imitation may be an adaption for the transmission of culture. A human demonstrator went through an elaborate ritual to open a puzzle box with a reward in it. The children tried to imitate the ritual while the chimps didn't bother with the unnecessary ritual. The inference was they saw that the two were not dependent. http://www.nature.com/news/specials/chimpgenome/behaviour/3e.htmlafricangenesis
July 26, 2011
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... he also tried to share some grassy clods he'd uprooted ... I suppose he was all out of poo ... but it's kind of hard to wing someone when all you can manage is an underhand swing.Ilion
July 26, 2011
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I saw a chimp share "the bird" with some (human) teenagers.Ilion
July 26, 2011
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I hate to share. I wannabee a chimp. What is a chump?Mung
July 26, 2011
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I saw a chimp in an enclosure gain access to a tree that they were normally unable to get to, and he was tossing branches to the others on the ground.Davem
July 26, 2011
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The chimps have learned- from us! They see that our welfare system is stupid and refuse to adopt it. They refuse to engage in enabling behavior. Next thing you know one chimp will use his booty to get some booty knowing that someone will bail him out. Then you will have chimps on fermented berries, licking toads and not collaborating but still feeling entitiled. Perhaps we should learn from them...Joseph
July 26, 2011
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Specifically, as I recall it, if a chimp learns that employing “begging behavior” it can get a human to give it something it wants, but cannot itself reach, it will (frequently) still try the “begging behavior” even when the human cannot see it (for instance, with his back to the chimp, or with a bucket over his head).
If you're married, don't try this when your wife is asking for money.Mung
July 26, 2011
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Wasn't there a "cognitive study" or two which seemed to indicate that dogs are smarter than chimps? Specifically, as I recall it, if a chimp learns that employing "begging behavior" it can get a human to give it something it wants, but cannot itself reach, it will (frequently) still try the "begging behavior" even when the human cannot see it (for instance, with his back to the chimp, or with a bucket over his head). Dogs, on the other hand, seem to know to make eye-contact with the human before trying to get his to do something for them.Ilion
July 26, 2011
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Chimps are stupid. Why do you think I call my friends "chimps" when they're acting stupid?mike1962
July 26, 2011
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Excellent point, Mung.Ilion
July 26, 2011
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But science isn't logical! Why do you keep thinking science should be logical?Mung
July 26, 2011
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example of DarLogic: "[Chimpanzees studied] did not share more often after collaboration than in a windfall situation. Also in the wild, they only rarely actively collaborate for subsistence. Therefore, they may not have evolved a tendency to distribute resources more equally when those resources result from a collaboration." Translation into English: Chimpanzees "may not have evolved a tendency to distribute resources more equally when those resources result from a collaboration" BECAUSE in the wild they "only rarely actively collaborate for subsistence". Translation into a syllogism: P1.a) chimpanzees are observed to be "selfish" with resources they acquire in a windfall; P1.b) chimpanzees are not observed "to distribute resources more equally when those resources result from a collaboration"; P2) chimpanzees in the wild (are observed to) "only rarely actively collaborate for subsistence"; C) THEREFORE, because of P2, P1 (and especially P1.b ) This is, of course, not a validly constructed syllogism.Ilion
July 26, 2011
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