Even very young babies can tell the difference between someone who’s helpful and someone who’s mean — and lab studies show that babies consistently prefer the helpers.
But one of humans’ closest relatives — the bonobo — makes a different choice, preferring to cozy up to the meanies.
That’s according to experiments described Thursday in the journal Current Biology, by scientists who wanted to explore the evolutionary origins of humans’ unusually cooperative behavior.
“In the animal kingdom, there are all kinds of acts of cooperation. But we don’t see things like building skyscrapers or the establishment of institutions,” says comparative psychologist Christopher Krupenye, who did the studies while at Duke University. “Humans are much more cooperative, and we do elaborate kinds of cooperation in ways that we don’t see in our closest relatives.”
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