Study at Tchimpounga Reveals Similarities in Chimp and Human Gambling Preferences


A recent behavioral study conducted by Duke University at two African great ape sanctuaries, including the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo, investigated how chimpanzees and bonobos make decisions when faced with different options. The study’s findings indicate that, similar to humans, the two species are more apt to gamble when they know the odds than when they do not. During the study, when chimpanzees and bonobos were faced with a safe bet that always provided a food they somewhat liked, such as peanuts, or a variable bet in which the outcome was either a food they really liked or didn’t much like at all, such as a large piece of banana or less-desirable slice of cucumber, the great apes were more likely to choose the safe bet. The results may not only shed light on chimpanzee and bonobo foraging behavior, but also on the historical shaping of human economic biases.

The Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center is currently home to more than 140 chimpanzees orphaned by the bushmeat trade—the illegal commercial hunting of chimpanzees—one of the largest threats to the species’ survival. Tchimpounga is not just a safe haven for orphaned chimpanzees, but is also a leading center for noninvasive chimpanzee research.

To learn more about the recent gambling study, click here.



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