The importance of grooming in human animals and the other primates.

March 10, 2013 | By | Reply More

Here are a few photos I took at the St. Louis Zoo over the past few weeks. All of these involve physical grooming by primates, three of them featuring two orangutans and one of them involving a larger group of chimpanzees. This is one of the ways these animals know who is their friend or foe.

Orang Grooming

Orang grooming II

Orang Grooming III

chimpanzees grooming

We human animals groom for this same purpose, but we generally engage in verbal grooming: gossip. Using words rather than physical grooming we can connect with many more fellow humans at one time than any of those animals limited to physical grooming. I make this claim based on the work of Robin Dunbar.


Category: Communication, Community, Culture, Friendships/relationships, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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