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If we were to enumerate our core ethical values, we would be inclined to say that trust is one of them. One who would argue that trust involves friendship stress out the true nature of trust. A team of German scientists has observed that chimps trust their best buds, thus demonstrating that trust is not limited only to humans.
Most of us would argue that to trust another or to earn another’s trust is a very delicate and lengthy process. But at the end of the line is that one bright beacon called friendship. Based on these simple, yet intricate facts, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Anthropology has begun to take great interest in the chimp’s behavior when it came to social interaction.
In humans, when people trust each other, they often share secrets or they trust their best bud with crucial information or even resources. The team wanted to find out if this human aspect can extend into the animal world.
Jan Engelmann, one of the scientists working on the project declared that throughout their observations, he and his team have discovered that chimps are capable of exhibiting behavior similar to trust in humans when they were interacting with close companions. Moreover, the chimpanzees were even capable of selecting their best bud between several members from the same group.
The study proved that chimps trust their best buds and that this behavior is not limited only to humans. On the other hand, the study also demonstrates that this type of behavior is much older than anticipated and it seems to derive from the animal kingdom.
In order to test their theories, the group of German researchers spent approximately 5 months in Kenya, studying 15 chimpanzees from the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The observed how the chimps were behaving during grooming and eating rituals.
In order to see if the chimps are capable of trust, the team decided to catalog are social interactions between the chimps, and mark out their partners as being friends or just acquaintances.
After performing their observation, the team decided to perform a little social experiment. According to the team of researchers, the experiment performed on the chips was very similar to children’s game called “the trust game”.
The chimps were brought together in a specially designed enclosure containing two stalls with food and a rope near each one. One of the rope was dubbed the “no trust rope” while the other the “trust rope”. When a chimp pulled the “no trust” rope, the chimp was awarded a meal that was not to his taste. On the other hand, if the decided to pull the other rope, the chimp would receive quite a treat and had the opportunity of sending some of the food to the other chimp.
According to the researcher, on the average, a chimp played the trust game 12 times with his friends and 12 times with his acquaintances.
At the end of the study, the scientists have observed that chimps are more likely to pull the trust rope for their friends than for their acquaintances.
In conclusion, the experiment managed to prove that not only humans are capable of forming long-lasting friendships based on trust.