While it has been previously thought that humans were the only primate species that would share food resources willingly with others of their species, related or not, a research group lead by Brian Hare of Duke University has shown that our bonobo cousins are equally willing to share with strangers. Originally carried out in 2009, Hare’s research has been continuing since with new and anthropologically exciting results coming as a result.
This particular research was carried out at the Lola Ya Bonobo refuge for orphaned bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has shown that young bonobos, unlike chimps and other primates, are all too willing to share food rations with other bonobos, even those that with no previous connection.
In an experiment at the bonobo orphanage, animals unlocked a door into their enclosure to let another hungry bonobo enter and share their food, even if the other ape was not a member of the same group and had not been encountered previously. The data gathered during the study adds to that already collected in the wild where bonobos are seen to share on a regular basis, though it has not been clear if this was a result of so-called free will or due to intimidation.