A video captured the first-ever recorded observation of a chimpanzee sharing an experience with another chimp simply for the sake of sharing – a trait previously thought to be uniquely human.
The observation was recorded at the Ngobo Chimp Community at Kibale National Park in Uganda as part of a study titled “Declarative referential gesturing in a wild chimpanzee.”
The video shows a young chimp, Fiona, pestering her mom, Sutherland, in an attempt to show her a leaf, for no other reason than to show her.
In the study, scientists refer to the behavior as “declarative referential gesturing.” In simpler terms, it’s showing something for the sake that another chimp can see it, and no more. Declarative referential gesturing was believed to be something shared between humans alone, but now there’s evidence that other animals, at least chimpanzees, experience t also.
In an interview with CNN, study author Katie Slocombe explained:
“Critically, [Fiona] didn’t seem to want her mom to do anything with the leaf. … She seems to be showing it just for the sake of showing it. It’s like, ‘look, look, this is cool, isn’t it?’ And that is very humanlike and something that we thought was fairly unique to our species.”
She went on to say, “When Fiona was doing this, (Sutherland) didn’t really seem interested; she wasn’t watching and wasn’t giving her any attention. Fiona is then showing her the leaf to say, ‘look at it.’ She is really persistent with trying to get her mom to look at it, and it’s only when her mom really visibly dropped her whole head to orient to the leaf that (Fiona) then seems satisfied.”
You can see the interaction for yourself in the video below:Whizzco