Chimpanzees Require “Trust” Of Friends

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Chimpanzees played the trust game to find out the basis of individual preference for other chimps

Trust is the foundation of close relationships in the world of chimpanzees, according to anthropologists at Max Planck Institute.

“Humans largely trust only their friends with crucial resources or important secrets,” said Dr. Jan Engelmann of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany. “In our study, we investigated whether chimpanzees show a comparable pattern and extend trust selectively toward those individuals they are closely bonded with. Our findings suggest that they do indeed, and thus that current characteristics of human friendships have a long evolutionary history and extend to primate social bonds.”

Previous studies of chimpanzee friendships had shown that the animals were attracted to sociable partners for friendships, and that they extended their favors to those they preferred. The Max Plank researchers wanted to know if the basis for this preference was “trust.”

Research situation of chimps
Research situation of chimps

In order to find out, the researchers spent five months at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Kenya. They set up an arena where the Sweetwaters chimps could play “the trust game” — a game in which two separated chimpanzees get to decide if their partner gets a delicious treat or a less savory one. The partner in turn has the opportunity to share some of their treat back with the one who pulled the rope that opened the door to the treat.

The best case scenario is considered to be that the chimp with the rope will provide the other with the tasty treat, and the other will share some with the first chimp.

Before the researchers put the chimps in the experimental setting, the researchers observed the chimpanzee group to decide for each chimp which other animal was their favorite and least favorite. These two would be paired up against the first chimp in the game.

Each chimp played 12 rounds of the game with each their favorite and least favorite group member.

The result was that chimps were ” significantly more likely to voluntarily place resources at the disposal of a partner, and thus to choose a risky but potentially high-payoff option, when they interacted with a friend as compared to a non-friend.”

The researchers interpreted this finding to mean that chimpanzees show much greater trust when it comes to friends than non-friends.

“Human friendships do not represent an anomaly in the animal kingdom,” Engelmann said. “Other animals, such as chimpanzees, form close and long-term emotional bonds with select individuals. These animal friendships show important parallels with close relationships in humans. One shared characteristic is the tendency to selectively trust friends in costly situations.”

The report, “Chimpanzees Trust Their Friends,” was completed by Drs. Jan Maxim Engelmann and Esther Herrmann and was published in the journal Current Biology. View the research paper at this link.

By Andy Stern

Possible new law of nature on the way

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The world of physics is excited about strong but early evidence about the behavior of muons, paricles identical to electrons only 200x more massive (heavier), which once born take 2.2 microseconds to decay into an electron, and which spin like tops. In a new, extremely precise measurement, they were made to wobble using magnetic fields but they unexpectedly wobbled quite significantly faster than the Standard Model suggests they would. They might spin so fast due to an unknown force caused by an unknown particle, and this is what is so exciting.

“We found that a muon … is not in agreement with our current best theory of physics at the subatomic level, and … it potentially points to a future with new laws, new particles and new forces in physics which we haven’t seen to date,” said Professor Mark Lancaster at U of Manchester.

“The main goal of the experiment is to make the measurement and compare with the theory, and if they disagree then it’s telling us that there’s something in nature which is not in the theory,” explained James Mott at Fermilab.

The four known forces of nature (gravity, electricity, two nuclear forces: strong and weak interactions) have left scientists without an answer for some observed phenomena, such as the speed at which galaxies spin (faster than the best model suggests). Therefore, they continue to search for glitches in their already-tight models which might point them things they don’t yet know about.

The most recent work was done at Fermilab (Muon g-2 experiment), but a similar experiment was already done earlier at the Large Hadron Collider. These tools accelerate particles in large rings at close to the speed of light.

The evidence needs more tests for greater certainty, particularly to rule out the possibility of a systematic error, and particularly with a new, independent experiment, but physicists will be chasing this line of experiment eagerly.

“This is outstanding confirmation of experimental technique, and very, very suggestive of the possibility of new physics,” noted scientist David Hertzon of U of Washington.

By the editors

#AnomalousMagneticDipoleMomentOfTheMuon #QuantumElectrodynamics

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People in Kachin state demonstrate against China

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YANGON, Myanmar – The people in the Pharkant area of Kachin state demonstrated against China this week, drawing a cross on the Chinese flag and burning a picture of Myanmar’s military leader Min Aung Hlaing.

“China stands with the military leader,” shouted the demonstrators.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Aye Yarwaddy

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Myanmar military council arrests the artist Zarganar

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YANGON, Myanmar – The artist Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military council from his home in Tarmwe township, Yangon this morning.

Zarganar is not only a director but also a comedian famous for political jokes since the 1988 democratic revolution.

Zarganar was arrested by the Myanmar military many times before 2010.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Zarganar page

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Kayin IDPs struggle to get for food

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YANGON, Myanmar – Kayin internally displaced people are desperate for food, clothing and shelter, hiding in the forest from the air strikes of the Myanmar military.

The IDPs fled to neighboring Thailand, but Thai government turned them back. However, Wednesday morning the Thai government opened Maeseli jetty in Maehaungsaung district to sending rations and medicines over the border to Kayin state, according to a Thai media.

By Htay Win

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Twenty Myanmar celebrities charged with incitement

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YANGON, Myanmar -They were charged under the country’s media law with inciting government employees to join the popular civil disobedience movement (CDM) through social media.

Celebrities took part in the NLD election campaigns and are thought to have played a large part in influencing the public, particularly Myanmar’s youth, to vote for Aung San Suu Kyi.

By Htay Win
Photo credit Myanmar celebrity

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