Blessed are the orangutan peacemakers


A new video captures one orangutan mediating peace "talks" between two other, fighting, orangutans. (You'll have to go to the BBC story to watch.)

Over 13 days of observations, another much older female called Chappy, thought to be 34 years old, became repeatedly aggressive toward Kiki, either chasing or physically attacking her on 28 separate occasions. During 19 of these interactions, another orangutan intervened, physically stepping between the two squabbling apes to separate them. Most of the time the peacemaker was an elder female orangutan called Gypsy, who is thought to be 51 years old.

Researchers said this was the first time peacemaking behavior has been observed in orangutans, which are, in the wild, loners. Basically, it looks as though this group of captive orangutans—forced to live together—have learned a behavior that's previously only been known among more social apes, such as chimpanzees and gorillas.

BBC: Bornean organgutan acts as "peacemaker" in Japan zoo

Image courtesy Flickr user mybulldog, via CC