Wednesday, September 25, 2002

LIKE US IN MANY WAYS

Researchers finding more ways chimps resemble humans
BY ROBERT S. BOYD Knight Ridder Newspapers

(KRT) - Thanks to new observations and experiments, researchers are finding ever more ways in which chimpanzees resemble human beings - and vice versa.

Chimps for example, crack nuts using stone hammers quite like the crude tools our human ancestors employed until about 5,000 years ago. Mother apes teach their children, by demonstration and imitation, much as human mothers do.

Some primatologists - people who study apes and monkeys - even go so far as to use the distinctly human word "friendship" to describe the buddy-buddy relationship between male chimps who spend a lot of time hanging out together....

Here are some of the ways in which chimpanzee behavior resembles human behavior.

_ Learning: A growing field of study is how young chimps learn from adults, and how that compares with the way human children learn....

_ Culture: Primatologists report that chimpanzees have developed a multitude of different "cultures," which the scientists define as distinct patterns of behavior, habits and knowledge that are handed down from generation to generation....

_ Reconciliation: Like warring nations, quarreling spouses and squabbling children, chimpanzees have ways of patching things up after a fight....