New Research Characterizes Mountain Gorilla “Friendships”

The Human Evolution Blog

“I get by with a little help from my friends.”

The more we look, the more we find. This is especially true when it comes to the social dynamics of animals. Scientists continue to document the complex nature of social relationships, particularly in birds and mammals. It seems we are constantly saying, “I didn’t animals did that!”

While there is great value in understanding the sociality of all animals, we have an extra interest in understanding the relationships of our closest relatives because they can help us understand how our own social relationships evolved. By exploring the nature and value of social relationships in apes and other primates, we are better able to understand the evolutionary context of our sociality.

Grooming_monkeys_PLW_edit Social grooming in olive baboons. (Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim)

A new paper in the journal Ethology describes the results of a nine-year-long study of the social relationships of mountain gorillas at…

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