Thursday, March 28, 2019

"Commodity traders superior to chimpanzees, research shows"

Lest we forget.
A repost from 2008:

I made a serious career track mistake.
Years ago a counselor pointed out that I seemed to have an affinity for animals (It's true. Kids and dogs like me. So do drunks and and folks suffering from various psychopathologies).
Had I followed up on her thinking I would now be tenured, trading outside my species and living the grant-proposal dream.
This was first posted last January:
From RISK Over the Counter:
In a radical overturning of conventional wisdom, scientists in Georgia and California have found significant differences between commodity traders and chimpanzees. Chimps are, in fact, not very good at commodity trading:
the researchers found that chimpanzees often did not spontaneously barter food items, but needed to be trained to engage in commodity barter. Moreover, even after the chimpanzees had been trained to do barters with reliable human trading partners, they were reluctant to engage in extreme deals in which a very good commodity (apple slices) had to be sacrificed in order to get an even more preferred commodity (grapes)...
The report becomes particularly readable when it speculates on the reasons why:
because of their lack of property ownership norms...
...or, for that matter, pockets....
...chimpanzees in nature do not store property and thus would have little opportunity to trade commodities....MORE
That link has rotted so here's EurekAlert:
...The observed chimpanzee behavior could be reasonable because chimpanzees lack social systems to enforce deals and, as a society, punish an individual that cheats its trading partner by running off with both commodities. Also because of their lack of property ownership norms, chimpanzees in nature do not store property and thus would have little opportunity to trade commodities. Nevertheless, as prior research has demonstrated, they do possess highly active service economies. In their natural environment, only current possessions are "owned," and the threat of losing what one has is very high, so chimpanzees frequently possess nothing to trade....MUCH MORE
If interested see also:
Trading Behavior Between Conspecifics in Chimpanzees, Pan Troglodytes