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The Older the Chimp, the Less Fake Friends Needed, Study Shows

Chimps share the same motto: less is more.

We all get selective and decide to have fewer people around us and collect more meaningful memories over time. It's clearly a part of growing up for us humans. But have you ever thought if we are the only species as humans to do so? If you haven't, buckle up because you're about to be enlightened by one of our closest living relatives: chimpanzees. 

The research conducted through Kibale Chimpanzee Project included 78,000 hours of observations between 1995 and 2016. 21 male chimpanzees aged between 15 and 58 had been monitored in the Kibale National Park in Uganda.

RELATED: A NEW STUDY FINDS CHIMPANZEE BEDS ARE MORE HYGIENIC THAN HUMANS'

The older the wiser

The research has defined the young chimpanzees' (around age 15) friendships as one-sided, while the older (around 40-year-old) ones seem to have more mutual interactions. Mutually speaking, the older chimpanzees had been observed to groom reciprocatively but in younger ones' communications, grooming isn’t always returned, the study says. 

“The really cool thing is that we found that chimpanzees are showing these patterns that mirror those of humans,” Alexandra Rosati, one of the lead authors of the study compared.

The participants of the research were males only as the females do not show strong social bonds and have less frequent social interactions, compared to males.  

What's more, older chimpanzees showed that they liked to spend more time alone and they preferred to have more positive interactions over time, as they got close to their "twilight years".

In fact, there is one difference between us and chimps in the current research, to think about. 

“Even though chimps are very smart, they do not understand they’re going to die,” Richard W. Wrangham, founder and co-director of the project said. “Much more likely something else is going on in chimps to explain why their relationships become more positive as they get older, and then the question is, is what applies to chimps the same as what applies to humans?”

The results appear not much of a surprise, the study indicates, as we share 99 percent of our DNAs with them. But everyone, including chimps, seems to be on the right path eliminating more of their species and getting less drama involved in their lives. Less is always more!

The research has been published in the journal Science on October 23rd.

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