What's the difference between us and our chimpanzee cousins? Researchers studying traits that we share, like altruism and vengeance, and those we don't, like spite and most social learning skills, are shedding light on what it means to be human. The new issue of Smithsonian surveys several of these studies. From the article:
What makes us lucky bipeds human?
"The most important way to ask these really hard questions–is human altruism unique, is human spite unique, is human fairness unique–is to ask non-human animals," says Laurie Santos, director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale University. This behavioral process of elimination defines humans as it progresses.
Since chimpanzees can't speak our language, researchers design experimental scenarios to detect the presence or absence of such traits.
Previously on BB:
• Ape altruism Link