Like humans, gorillas too cajole bored pals to continue a game

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London, Mar 17 (ANI): Gorillas, just like humans, have the tendency to keep bored friends into a game by cajoling or even by deliberately losing if need arises, a new study found.

The above tendency indicates that gorillas may have "theory of mind" - the capacity to attribute mental states to others, said Richard Byrne and Joanne Tanner of St Andrews University in the UK, who videotaped gorillas at San Francisco Zoo.

Other than engaging with a toy and another gorilla, the animals seemed aware of how their playmate was interacting with the toy.

"The gorillas could encourage their playmates when they were losing interest, or self-handicap if there was a danger of winning the game," New Scientist quoted Byrne as saying.

This is the first time animals have been observed following a playmate's interaction with a third object - a skill picked up by humans at 9 months old.

However, with dogs, cats, lions and bears "the animal wants to win the game, rather than keep it going. This is different to throwing a stick for your pet dog," said Byrne.

Byrne said that because the gorillas seem to be taking account of the thoughts of others, they are showing some theory of mind competence, despite the fact that they do not pass a theory-of-mind test called the false belief testMovie Camera, which looks at the ability to infer another's perspective.

The study has been published in the journal Animal Cognition. (ANI)

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