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Chimpanzees that form strong social bonds tend to live longer

Devdiscourse News Desk london
Updated: 10-10-2018 18:56 IST

Male chimpanzees that are less aggressive and form strong social bonds tend to live longer, according to a study.

The research of hundreds of captive chimps showed that males that get along well with others -- by being sensitive, protective and cooperative -- outlived their less amiable peers.

The team, led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, found that, contrary to studies of humans and other primates, being more extroverted, conscientious or neurotic had no impact on chimpanzee's longevity.

Extraversion is frequently associated with longer life in other nonhuman primates, while conscientiousness and neuroticism are associated with longer and shorter life, respectively, in humans.

Using personality and survival data from 538 chimpanzees, our closest ape relative, the study tested which aspects of their personalities were associated with longevity.

Results, published in the journal eLife, suggest that amongst male chimps, evolution has favoured those that are more agreeable.

Researchers also found some evidence that female chimps who demonstrated openness -- those who more readily explored and adapted to changes in their physical and social environments -- were more likely to live longer.

The researchers, including colleagues from the US and Japan, assessed chimps' personalities based on a questionnaire of common adjectives and chimpanzee behaviours completed by keepers and researchers who worked with these animals for between seven and 24 years.

The chimps lived in zoos, research facilities and sanctuaries located in the UK, US, Netherlands, Australia and Japan.

The study is one of the largest ever analyses of individual behaviour data from chimpanzees or any other great ape, researchers said.

The findings suggest that links between personality and lifespan in people may not be entirely explained by inherent characterises, but that lifestyle may play a greater part.

"Studying the personality of chimps -- one of our closest biological relatives -- suggests that the quality of our social relationships can significantly impact our lives," said Drew Altschul, Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

(With inputs from agencies.)