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Study: Male apes show less caution with tools

Science: Researchers observe 22 gibbons to reach conclusion that may be true to other species

Posted: March 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Kino, a male Siamang uses his throat sack to make distinctive vocal sounds at the Gibbon Conservation Center in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Research performed at the Gibbon Conservation Center in the Santa Clarita Valley may help explain why men seem more interested in new tools and gadgets than women.

Faculty from Abertay University in Scotland observed 22 gibbons, a type of ape, and found that female gibbons were more cautious when using a rake-like tool.

Researchers believe that a perception of potential dangers of new objects or new situations is particularly noticeable if the gibbons are pregnant or caring for young infants, according to a statement from the university.

Male gibbons, meanwhile, display no such caution about new tools or situations.

“The research is very exciting, as it opens up a whole range of new questions for us to consider,” said Clare Cunningham, a psychology lecturer at the university.

“For instance, have other species, like humans, also evolved with this same sex-difference to learning?” she said in a statement.

The Gibbon Conservation Center, located north of Plum Canyon Road off Esguerra Road, works to ensure the survival of the endangered ape through conservation and scientific research.


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