Profile image
By Alton Parrish (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views

Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:

Chimps Are More Selfish Than Humans, Study Finds

Friday, January 13, 2017 6:17
% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.
A new study finds that unlike humans, Chimpanzees are entirely selfish creatures who act in their own interests, turning conceived wisdom on its head.

The team from the universities of Manchester, Birmingham, and St Andrews, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, say humans were unlikely to have inherited the trait of kindness from their primate cousins.

The animals, they find, are unlikely to take an interest in each other unless there is an anticipated benefit.

Credit: University of Manchester,

Previous research implying helpful behaviour in chimps was likely to be a by-product of the way experiments were designed, they argue in Nature Communications.

The team worked with a group of 16 Chimpanzees at the Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary, in Uganda.

Using two ingenious experiments, the team discovered the chimpanzees were no more likely to help feed each other as they were to block access to a box of peanuts.

One of the principle investigators, Dr Keith Jensen at The University of Manchester, said, “The evolution of social behaviour, and what drives individuals to act altruistically, is an important and active area of debate.

“There has been an appealing suggestion that the roots of human altruism extend down at least as far as our common ancestor with chimpanzees.

“However, the results of this study challenges that view. ‘Helping’ might have formerly arisen in previous studies as a by-product of interesting tasks.”

Dr Claudio Tennie, from the University of Birmingham, said: “The results of these experiments combined demonstrate that the chimpanzees did not act in a manner that would produce benefits for others in a task where there was no perceived benefit to themselves.

“Indeed, given that the participants were just as likely to prevent access to food as they were to permit access, chimpanzees are no more altruistic than they are spiteful.

“Even after they demonstrated a clear understanding of the consequences of their actions, they remained indifferent to any effects these actions may have on others. If true, this would mean that prosocial behaviour has developed late in evolution, after our split with the other apes.”

Contacts and sources:
University of Manchester,


We encourage you to Share our Reports, Analyses, Breaking News and Videos. Simply Click your Favorite Social Media Button and Share.

Report abuse


Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Top Stories
Recent Stories



Top Global


Top Alternative




Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.