December 22nd, 2010


98% chimp, how about you?

For pombagira. A study has found that within a group of chimps, playing with sticks as if they were dolls (ie carrying them around, making pretend beds for them) happens roughly twice as much amongst female juveniles as it does amongst male juveniles. It's interesting because all the chimps seem to stop doing it by the time they hit puberty, therefore unlike sticks-for-aggression or sticks-as-tools-for-food, it's not a behaviour they learn by copying adults. There seems to be an aspect of peer learning going on, which emerges as gender-differentiated play behaviour. But there's also the possibility that this is a biological difference. Some male chimps do it, but nowhere near as many as females.

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Today is my last day at work. We finish at lunchtime. Blogging may get a bit sporadic over the holidays but that's normal, right? Meanwhile, I only need a two day window of fine weather to get the last sheep done. Please make this happen.