Nurtured juvenile apes exhibit empathy

10/15/2013 | LiveScience.com

Bonobo apes, a close relative to humans, are capable of empathy, according to a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "By measuring the expression of distress and arousal in great apes, and how they cope, we were able to confirm that efficient emotion regulation is an essential part of empathy," said Frans de Waal, a researcher at Emory University's National Primate Research Center. The scientists studied juvenile bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo as they soothed and comforted one other after periods of distress, and compared them with bonobos who had been orphaned, finding that those nurtured by mothers were more likely to comfort others.

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