Friday, October 28, 2005

An Explanation for George's Policies

From the BBC:
Chimps fall down on friendship
Captive chimpanzees fail to help others in their social group, even when it causes no inconvenience, a behavioural study in Nature journal has found ... Humanlike attributes shown by chimps include tool use and maybe rudimentary language skills, but this study suggests altruism is not among them.
But other researchers said that captive chimps may be less socially inclined. A team led by Joan Silk of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), set captive chimpanzees tests in which they obtained a food reward.
The chimps were presented with two reward options. One option allowed a chimp only to serve itself with food. The other secured the same reward, but also delivered food to another chimpanzee in an enclosure next door.
Dr Silk's team found the 29 chimps tested in the study were no more likely to pick the second option than the first, even though it allowed them to do a "good deed" at no cost to themselves.