New Scientist interviews human-chimpanzee liaison Jane Goodall:
What is the most human-like behaviour you saw in chimpanzees?
Chimps can be deliberately deceptive. For example, when we wanted the young males to get the bananas, the big males would come and take them all, so we took to hiding some of the bananas up in the trees. One day a young male called Figan suddenly looked up into a tree and there was a banana nobody else had seen. He glanced over at three older males grooming. Chimps follow each other's gaze, and if the males had noticed where Figan had been looking they would have immediately taken the banana, and if he had tried to get it quickly they would have attacked him. I think he knew if he stayed there he wouldn't be able to resist looking, so he went out of sight. The moment they left, he came back to fetch it.
What's the biggest difference between humans and chimps?
Talking. Because we can discuss ideas, we can teach about things that aren't present. We can draw from the distant past and teach each other from it and we can plan the distant future. Mostly it is this discussion of ideas.
Just what we needed, said exactly no one.
* whether they deserve one or not
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