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African grey parrots help each other in times of need


People readily help each other. We donate blood and food or help old people across the street. Among non-human animals this propensity to help is very rare.

There are a few observations of helping behaviours in non-human animals. For example, vampire bats provide food to other group members and save them from starvation. In more experimental settings, in which scientists can better control the environment, chimpanzees helped each other get a tool that is out of reach, while bonobos even provided help to strangers.

But some animals, like monkeys, don’t. This raises the question of how helping behaviours evolved. And are they limited to great apes and humans only, or is this capacity also present in other (non-mammalian) species? MORE

Header image: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock.

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