London, Mar 26: Adding to the growing list of human-like behaviour seen in chimpanzees, it has emerged that they are risk takers and gamblers.
When given the choice between a safe bet and a high-risk and highstakes option, chimps will always choose the latter, a study revealed The apes, who share 98 per cent of their DNA with humans, are the only member of the animal kingdom prepared to gamble. The study, led by Dr Sarah Heilbronner of Duke University, North Carolina, compared the gambling habits of a group of chimps with their relatives, bonobos or pygmy chimps. Although both species feed heavily on fruit, bonobos have a more predictable supply of food and eat more ground-based vegetation. Common chimps, in contrast, have less stable food supplies and are forced to take risks. The authors said, ''Because chimpanzees exploit riskier food sources in the wild, we predicted that they would exhibit greater tolerance for risk in choices about food.'' ''Results confirmed this prediction-- chimpanzees significantly preferred the risky option, whereas bonobos preferred the fixed option,'' they added.
Previous studies have shown that chimps use tools to gather food, are better at memory puzzles than students and leave notes to each other in the forest using leaves and twigs.