Washington, July 14 (ANI): Gorillas play tag as a way to learn how to keep a competitive edge, says a new study.
"The hitting can be very hard and still be part of play," Discovery News quoted co-author Marina Davila Ross, a research fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, as saying.
"Apes play overall much rougher than humans," she added.
Like human tag, one gorilla runs up to another and taps, hits, or outright punches the second.
The hitter then usually runs away, attempting to avoid being hit back.
Davila Ross and her colleagues also noticed that, like kids, the gorillas would reverse roles.
She believes the game helps to improve social and cognitive skills.
Since kids play nearly the exact same game, she theorizes that the "ability of humans to modify their behaviours for their own advantage in unfair situations might therefore have its roots in non-human primate evolution."
The game also indicates development of more refined and sophisticated communication skills. For instance, the eyes and mouth are open, but lips are relaxed and sometimes held over the teeth - accompanied by a rhythmic vocalization resembling human laughter. (ANI)