Chimpanzees have special “handshakes”



Chimpanzees adopt handling methods specific to their social group, according to a study published on May 26, 2021, and a collection of 12 years of observation of their behavior.

Repeated hand gestures

Chimpanzees are often considered the closest primates to humans, with their ability to perform complex tasks, such as using tools. Edwin van Leeuwen, an animal behavior expert from the Belgian University of Antwerp, studied dozens of chimpanzees housed in Zambia’s Chimfunshi orphanage. He could observe repeated and very specific hand gestures in two different groups. According to this published study, the gesture, associated with mutual scattering, sees each participant extend one hand over their head and touch the other with their partner’s wrist or hand or grab it by the arm. Letters from the Biology of the Royal Society. Mr Van Leeuwen noted that the handshake “noticeably more pronounced“in one group of chimpanzees than in another. He also found that females were more likely to hold hands than males who preferred to grab the wrist, presumably to confirm their dominance.

Preservation of tradition

The fact that they have developed different habits in different groups shows that they take these habits socially in their group.“Leeuwen told AFP. According to him, chimpanzees seem to have learned to practice these handshakes,”to some extent“, like a kind of ritual. They”fit into the social interaction of the two persons, establishing a special bond in an already intimate activity“like an exchange. For Mr. Van Leeuwen, it’s proof of a chimpanzee’s ability to survive.”stability of tradition“Behavior that is called cultural persistence in humans. This behavior cannot be explained by genetic or environmental reasons, because the composition of the two groups is almost identical. He sees it more as a result.”a common feature of social learning“.



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