Altruism — helping another with no expectation of personal reward — was once thought to be a uniquely human trait, The Times of London reported. However, in recent experiments, chimpanzees repeatedly helped humans who appeared to be struggling to reach a stick within the animal’s enclosure.
The chimps, which were interacting with humans who had not given them food, spontaneously helped the humans by reaching across and helping them get the stick.
The experiments were carried out among 36 chimpanzees at a sanctuary for the animals in Uganda.
Anthropologists cite altruism as a key to developing civilized and complex societies. Although altruism has been observed in many species, this recent experiment is special because it shows ability for one species to be altruistic with another species, the Times said.
ScienceDaily: Chimpanzees show alturistic traits