Are These Gorillas Playing Tag?

Check out this video of one gorilla hitting another and then running away, leading to a chase.

This kind of play might be a way for young gorillas to test how far they can push their behavior and how members of their group will respond to unfair situations, preparing them for more serious interactions like conflicts over food, say researchers who studied gorillas in natural settings.
As they write in their paper:

The subjects, that hit their playmates unequally prior to a play chase, significantly more often moved first to run away than their playmates. Therefore, the current study provides, to our knowledge, first empirical evidence that non-human species may try to maintain their competitive advantages when responding to inequities. These findings suggest that humans are not unique in being sensitive to inequities when they have the advantage and the disadvantage … and in their ability to modify their responses to these situations accordingly.

Category: Animal Studies


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