Humans learn at an early age that sharing is a virtue, despite a common urge to hoard toys from preschool peers. We tend to think of this as a uniquely human ethos, elevating us above other, greedier animals. But as a new study highlights, the kind of selfless behaviors that help build our social networks may have evolved long before we did.Sharing with strangers is not particularly common in the animal kingdom, especially when it comes to food. Even social animals like chimpanzees, which often share with fellow group members, exhibit an innate wariness of outsiders. And in a cutthroat world where only the fittest survive, being a miser seems to make evolutionary sense.Nonetheless, a study published this week in the journal PLoS One demonstrates how deep the roots of generosity might really be. Anthropologists from Duke University conducted the research on wild-born bonobos, an endangered species of great ape that's closely related to chimpanzees — and to humans — yet whose relatively pacifist, amorous behavior has earned it the nickname "hippie chimp."
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