Female Chimps Like Dolls; Male Chimps Like “Dolls”

Do young chimps identify with same-sex parents?

Young Female Chimpanzees Treat Sticks as Dolls: Growing Evidence of Biological Basis for Gender-Specific Play in Humans

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2010)— Researchers have reported some of the first evidence that chimpanzee youngsters in the wild may tend to play differently depending on their sex, just as human children around the world do.


Scientists at Harvard University and Bates College say female chimpanzees appear to treat sticks as dolls, carrying them around until they have offspring of their own. Young males engage in such behavior much less frequently.

The new work by Sonya M. Kahlenberg and Richard W. Wrangham, described this week in the journal Current Biology, provides the first suggestive evidence of a wild non-human species playing with rudimentary dolls, as well as the first known sex difference in a wild animal’s choice of playthings.

The two researchers say their work adds to a growing body of evidence that human children are probably born with their own ideas of how they want to behave, rather than simply mirroring other girls who play with dolls and boys who play with trucks. Doll play among humans could have its origins in object-carrying by earlier apes, they say, suggesting that toy selection is probably not due entirely to socialization.

Read more in ScienceDaily…

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About carlos

I'm a curious person, of reasonable intellect, "on the beach" (retired) and enjoying my interest in anthropology, language, civil rights, and a few other areas. I've been a hippie/student/aerospace tech writer in the '60s, a witness to the Portuguese revolution in the ‘70s, a defense test engineer and witness to the Guatemalan genocide in the '80s, and a network engineer for an ISP in the '90s. Now I’m a student and commentator until my time is up. I've spent time under the spell of the Mesoamerican pyramids and the sweet sound of the Portuguese language. I've lived in Europe, traveled in Brazil, Central America, Iceland, New Zealand, and other places. My preferred mode of travel is with a backpack and I eat (almost) anything local. Somehow, many of the countries I have been to have had civil unrest (for which I was not responsible). I'm open to correspond with anyone who might share my liberal, humanist interests. I live in San Buenaventura, California.
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2 Responses to Female Chimps Like Dolls; Male Chimps Like “Dolls”

  1. isaleb mfc says:

    I was raised with 3 brothers and 2 cousins (all male)… never understod why (around 5) I should stop kidding with them and start playing with dolls (I always hate them) or learn about “women work” 🙂
    My mother intentions were good, I do not complain any more…

    • carlos says:

      When I was a child of about 6 I wanted a doll to see what it felt like. I don’t know if that experience would have changed my life (I have always been fascinated by Girls). However, I think that, as an archetype, guns represent a symbolic penis to young boys: something they want but, not understanding the symbolism associated with their fathers and power and society supports this.

      Claro, qdo tinha os seis anitos quis uma boneca só para saber a emoção. Não sé se a experiencia tivesse mudado a minha vida (sempre foi fascinado para mulhers). Porém, sempre pensavaque, como arquétipo, pistolas representam um penis simbólico para rapazes: algo que querem sem saber, explicitmente o simbolismo associado com seus pais e o poder.

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