Sense of fairness may exist only in humans

Sense of fairness may exist only in humans

Sense of fairness is a trait that might be unique to the human race, as our ape relatives chimps and bonobos do not exhibit it, according to a new study.

Researchers from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, London in a study focused on bonobos and chimpanzees found that they did not care much about fairness.

The scientists put the apes through a series of ultimatum games. One against the other, they had to choose whether to steal or leave the other’s grapes.

The games were set up in a variety of different ways involving equal proportions of grapes and others were split with a higher proportion given to one over the other.

“In each scenario one ape had to choose whether to steal the grapes or leave a portion of grapes for the other. We found that consistently they would steal the food without taking into account whether their action would have an effect on their partner,” Professor Keith Jensen from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said.

“Neither the chimpanzees nor bonobos seemed to care whether food was stolen or not, or whether the outcomes were fair or not, as long as they got something,” Jensen said in a statement.

“Both apes have no concern for fairness or the effects that their choices may have on others; in stark contrast to the way humans behave,” Jensen added.The study was published in journal Biology Letters.

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