Monkeys and fashion

by Natalja Smirnova

The article of Dutch scientists from the Institute of psycholinguistics of the Max Planck Society, published in the journal ”Animal Cognition” stated that biologists have found that chimpanzees can make improvised decorations and then enter them into fashion among their relatives.

Experts know that chimpanzees might have traditions similar to a human. Scientists have shown that chimpanzees, like humans, can create fashion for decoration.

In 2010, the authors of the article, watching chimpanzees living in one of Zambia’s reserves have noticed that an adult female named Julie often puts a long dry blade of grass in the right or left ear (sometimes in both). Julie never parted with such “decoration”, even during games and grooming.

After that, biologists have been carefully monitoring the behavior of relatives of Julie and other chimpanzees in the reserve. They filmed about 740 hours of video, heroes of which have become 94 individuals of the four groups, including a group of Julie. It turned out that chimpanzees from other flocks never put the grass into their ears.

While in the group of Julie 8 of 12 chimpanzees adopted this “fashion” for decoration. First this did monkey with which Julie was most closely interacted. Interestingly, the tradition of grass poking into the ears continued after the death of Julie.

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Natalja Smirnova


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