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Behaviors And Thought Processes In Humans And Non-Human Primates

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Chimpanzees, bonobos, capuchin monkeys and other related animals are capable of many similar thoughts and behaviors as humans. The most significant findings from the textbook “Understanding Humans: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology, 11th Edition” and from lectures are their social behavior, cultural behavior, reproductive behavior and language. Different variables have effect on evolutionary processes some being natural selection, and interactions between genetic and environmental factors. Factors that influence the social structure are diets, resources, relationships, and historic traits (Lewis, Jurmain & Kilgore). These thoughts and behaviors similar to humans are thought to be derived from common ancestors.

One significant behavior similar to humans is the interactions within their groups and in how they interact, communicate, affiliate, their altruistic behavior and bonding with one another.

Dominance hierarchies is a behavior similar between apes and people. Individuals are ranked by many factors and changes throughout one’s lifetime which creates competition. Some examples of ape competition is amount of resources they have or their mating partners compared to human competition are shown by who has the newest car or how many social media followers you have and the amount of wealth someone has, and society favors those people and people look up to them and try to surpass what they have which is similar within the two.

Communication between apes is very different to humans in which they don’t speak words to communicate but use body language to convey certain meanings just as humans do some examples being gestures, facial expressions, and vocalizing. Different expressions have different meanings transmitting different information that are similar to those in humans “Among many primates, an intense stare indicates a mild threat; and indeed, we humans find prolonged eye contact with strangers very uncomfortable.” (Lewis. Jurmain & Kilgore 152) Apes not only show aggressive gestures but also display behaviors such as reconciliation, altruism, and consolation. This contact helps enhance bonds within social groups which is important in relationships just as humans. From research it has been shown that apes resemble acts of caring for those close to them such as humans. Whenever someone is injured or ill, they care for them and protect them.

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Grooming is one of the ways both humans and apes care for one another it provides reassurance which many humans it takes form of touching, hugging, kissing. Altruism is a behavior also shown in humans and apes. An example being adopting orphans and taking care for them at their crucial ages. In humans some examples of establishing social ties with others is through sharing personal items, or basic needs such as food and water, or through music, hair-cuts and gifts. In the text “ reciprocal altruism” is mentioned so that an individual helps and in return hopes for the same when they need the favor returned. This is also very likely in humans many people believe the reason people do things for others is only to get something in return.

The mother and infant bond is also significant in chimpanzees, bonobos, capuchin monkeys and related animals’ resemblance to humans. A mother and its child are attached since birth or even before in the womb creating its first attachment. A mother has influence over an infant’s psychological and physical development. Based on how the mother cares for the infant the infant learns on how to care for another and when they have their own child, they use what they learned from their own mothers to take care of their own infant. Without a mother’s care they are incapable of long-lasting attachments to others and when it comes down to their own children, they may even reject their own child. An experiment conducted by Harry Harlow on surrogate mothers with monkeys showed that monkeys with no mothers became aggressive while the cloth surrogate mother and the infant macaque were able to create an attachment. Just as in humans many people who are abandoned by a parent at a young age it creates a problem in the future and many question why nobody wanted them in the first place, or they feel rejected like they don’t belong, and it may result in the inability to develop bonds in future relationships.

Another significant act would be cultural behavior “especially in chimpanzees and bonobos”( Lewis, Jurmain & Kilgore 164) Cultural behavior isn’t genetically predisposed but learned from exposure. Knowledge is acquired through tons of observation from parents and those in their social group. An example of cultural tradition is the use of tools used for hunting, and food purposes and having them prepared even before the target was in sight “the modification of natural objects for use of tools has several implications for nonhuman primate intelligence.”(Lewis, Jurmain, & Kilgore 165) Creating these tools also means chimpanzees know what’s required to be able to create the tool which is pretty complex.

In conclusion I think these studies have blurred a line between people and apes because thousands and thousands of years ago humans weren’t as developed as they are today and if we were able to come so far in technology, culture, language etc. there is no concrete evidence to say in the future that it isn’t a possibility for chimpanzees, bonobos, capuchin monkey and other related animals can’t achieve the same point maybe not in our lifetime but in the far future. We are connected through many creatures and species and life on the earth but even with the similarities us humans are not the same to any other even when or if apes or such related animals reach the development that we have reached today we are actively progressing and by the time they have reached the same point we have we will have advanced even further. There are still significant boundaries that differ between humans and apes but because of the findings we can’t completely shut down the idea that apes and such animals can’t develop into higher and complex acts and behaviors as humans. There are still many things that apes are not capable and differentiate in things such as physical characteristics, bipedalism, teeth and so on.

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Behaviors And Thought Processes In Humans And Non-Human Primates. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 19, 2022, from
“Behaviors And Thought Processes In Humans And Non-Human Primates.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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