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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: No Justice for Chimps
27 August 2012 3:00 pm
Rob a bank and it won't be the teller who sentences you to jail, but rather a judge. This is known as third-party punishment, in which individuals punish violators even when the violation doesn’t directly affect them, and it’s critical to the maintenance of cooperation in human societies. But dominant chimpanzees, who dish out punishment when stolen from, turn a blind eye unless the theft directly affects them, according to a new study. Researchers gave captive chimps the chance to punish those who stole food. In one experiment, the "actor" chimp watched as a "thief" pulled food away from a "victim." The actor could then push a button to release a trapdoor in the cage, causing the food to fall out of reach of the thief. Dominant actors punished thieves who stole from them, but not those who stole from others, even when they were related to the victim, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings suggest that third-party punishment evolved in humans after we diverged from our closest living relatives.
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