An intriguing study published this week suggests that bonobos, among the closest relatives to humans, are surprisingly willing to hand over food to a pal. But they didn't share tools. The discovery adds a new wrinkle to scientists' efforts to understand the evolutionary origins of people's unusual propensity to help others. "One of the things that is really striking about humans is how cooperative or helpful we are," says Christopher Krupenye , an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. "It's just a really pervasive element of our behavior." Common chimpanzees (a related species that diverged from bonobos about 2 million years ago ) do engage in some altruistic behavior. For example, it's been shown that chimps will hand...
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What's Mine Is Yours, Sort Of: Bonobos And The Tricky Evolutionary Roots Of Sharing