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Next to apes, chimpanzees are our closest animal relatives. It’s no surprise then that they exhibit many common characteristics with human beings. New research from scientists out of University of Zurich, Switzerland, and the University of Vienna, Austria, have discovered that like humans, chimps choose their friends based on shared similarities.

The study was published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior and paired years to chimpanzee behavioral observations with the examination of 38 chimps in two zoos. Researchers Jorg Massen and Sonja Koski monitored the zoo primates closely, watching who they formed bonds with, who they favored sitting with, and what types of personalities they possessed, reports Daily Mail.


The chimps seemed to choose their companions based on their behavioral and emotional states.

“We found that, especially among unrelated friends, the most sociable and bold individuals preferred the company of other highly sociable and bold individuals, whereas shy and less sociable ones spent time with other similarly aloof and shy chimpanzees,” said Massen in a statement.

According to ZeeNews, the researchers believe that such a strong preference for “self-like” individuals is adaptive and cooperation is more reliable among those with similar tendencies and emotional states.

The same can certainly be said for humans — we are much more apt to cooperate and mingle with someone if they exhibit similar interests, reactions, and inclinations as us. As the saying goes, “Like attracts like.”


“It appears that what draws and keeps both chimpanzee and human friends together is similarity in gregariousness and boldness, suggesting that preference for self-like friends dates back to our last common ancestor,” said Massen via Science Daily.

Findings like this are always intriguing and ultimately show that animals are not too far removed from humans, no matter how hard others try to repress and ignore these signs.


Image source: Delphine Bruyere / Wikipedia Commons