Baby chimps are less of a handful to look after than their human cousins, according to new research from Portsmouth University.
They may have a reputation for misbehaving but when a tearful baby chimp is given a cuddle it calms down quickly, unlike human babies, which have a reputation for continued crying.
“If you pick up a chimp when it is fussing, it calms down and stays calm,” says Professor Kim Bard who led the research. “Anybody who has had a fussing child knows it is well within the range of the human norm that you pick them up and they still fuss.”
Bard believes it is because a chimp’s more primitive brain matures more quickly than a human baby making them better behaved than children for at least the first three months of life. “Chimps are really consolable. They seem to have better control of their behavioural traits when they are young,” says Bard.
She has also discovered that young chimps have 16 different smiles compared to human babies who have 13 types of ‘grin’.