Research shows apes remember friends they haven’t seen for decades – Times of India

Research shows apes remember friends they haven't seen for decades - Times of India

Washington DC: A recent study shows that monkeys recognize photos of group mates they haven’t seen in more than 25 years and show significantly more emotional reactions to photos of their friends.
Work, which shows The most enduring social memory Ever documented beyond humans, and indicates how Human culture evolved. From common ancestor What we share with monkeys, our closest relatives, was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Chimpanzees and bonobos recognize people even though they haven’t seen them for decades,” said senior author Christopher Kroppene, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. Animal cognition. “And then there’s this small but significant pattern of paying more attention to people with whom they had more positive relationships. This suggests that it’s more than just familiarity, that they pay more attention to aspects of the quality of those social relationships. are watching.”
Adds lead author Laura Lewis, a biological anthropologist and comparative psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley: “We think of the great apes as very different from ourselves, but we’ve actually seen these animals possess such cognitive mechanisms. have seen as very similar to our own. Including memory. And I think that’s what’s so interesting about this study.”
The research team was motivated to pursue the question of how long monkeys remember their partners because of their experiences working with the monkeys — the sense that the animals recognize them when they visit, even if they Why not be away for a long time? .
“You get the impression that they’re responding like they know you and that you’re really different than the average zoo visitor,” Kruppene said. “They’re excited to see you again. So our goal with this study was to ask experimentally, if that’s the case: Do they really have a long-lasting memory for familiar social partners?”
The team worked with chimpanzees and bonobos at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, Plankendel Zoo in Belgium and Kumamoto Sanctuary in Japan. The researchers collected photographs of monkeys that had either left the zoo or died, individuals that the participants had not seen for at least nine months and in some cases for up to 26 years. The researchers also gathered information about the relationships each participant had with previous group mates — if they had had positive or negative interactions, etc.
The team invited the monkeys to participate in the experiment by offering them juice, and when they sipped it, the monkeys were shown two images simultaneously — monkeys they once knew and complete strangers. Using a non-invasive eye-tracking device, the team measured where the monkeys looked and for how long, hypothesizing that they would look longer at familiar monkeys.
Monkeys looked significantly longer at former group mates, regardless of how long they had been separated. And they looked longer at their former friends, with whom they interacted more positively.
In the most extreme situation during the experiment, the bonobo Louise had not seen her sister Loretta nor her nephew Erin for more than 26 years at the time of testing. He showed a surprisingly strong visual bias toward both of them over eight trials.
The results suggest that great apes’ social memory can last more than 26 years, the majority of their average lifespan of 40 to 60 years, and is comparable to that of humans, which begins to decline after 15 years. but may persist up to 48 years later. Separation. Such long-lasting social memory in both humans and our closest relatives suggests that this type of memory probably existed in our common evolutionary ancestor millions of years ago. This memory likely formed the basis for the evolution of human culture and made possible the emergence of individualized human forms such as intergroup trade where relationships persist over many years of separation, the authors said.
The idea that monkeys remember information about the quality of their relationships, beyond any possible function, is another novel and human-like finding at work, Kruppne said.
“This pattern of social relationships shaping long-term memory in chimpanzees and bonobos is similar to what we see in humans, that our own social relationships also shape our long-term memory of individuals,” Lewis said.
The work also raises questions about whether the monkeys are missing people they are no longer with, especially their friends and family.
“The idea that they remember others and therefore can remember those individuals is a really powerful cognitive mechanism and something that is thought to be uniquely human,” Lewis said. ” “Our study does not determine that they are doing this, but it does raise questions about the possibility that they have the ability to do so.”
The team hopes the findings will deepen people’s understanding of the great apes, all of which are endangered species, and shed new light on how poaching and deforestation affect them. To what extent can they be affected if separated from their group mates?
“This work clearly shows how fundamental and long-lasting these relationships are. Disruption of these relationships is potentially very damaging,” Kruppene said.
The team would then like to explore whether these long-lasting social memories are unique to great apes or whether something else has been experienced. They would also like to test how rich the monkeys’ memories are, if, for example, they have long-lasting memories for experiences as well as individuals.

The most enduring social memory,Human culture evolved.,common ancestor,Monkeys miss friends.,Animal cognition
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