A new paper due to be released in December 2014 has found that chimps may have their own form of currency, and ‘pay’ each other for services with grooming behaviour.
Male chimpanzees are now thought to swap a good groom for back-up in a fight. It seems that grooming behaviour is a ‘product’ that can be traded, and those that provide the service get ‘paid’ in support in aggressive situations.
Within a chimp hierarchy, fights often break out and having back-up is always helpful. It seems that chimps don’t groom each other randomly, it really is a ‘You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ kind of deal.
Image from www.flickr.com/photos/fabulousfabs