For those of us that have notched up a good few years, here are some interesting insights from Zarin Machanda. Zarin is a primatologist at Tufts University, Massachusetts whose research has found that as we age we increasingly share particular behaviours with our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. This wonderful great ape, native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa is estimated to share up to 98.7% of our genetic blueprint.

Zarin’s research concluded that, as we age, we both tend to:

  • favour well-established friends and reduce our social circles as we advance in to old age
  • prefer to hang out with old friends at the expense of other relationships, especially if we are male
  • prize mutual friendships and be less prepared to put up with one-sided relationships than when we were younger
  • become less aggressive as we age, particularly if we are male
  • prefer relationships based on trust, sharing and genuine respect.

The research team drew on 78,000 hours of chimp observations over an extended period between 1995 and 2016. During this time, they recorded the interactions of 21 male chimps in Kibale National Park, Uganda. The chimps were aged between 15 and 58 years of age.

Do you recognise yourself? Do you agree?

Ready Generations

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