Chimps Follow Fashion Trends, Too

Humans aren't the only ones who scurry to latch onto new fads—chimpanzees keep up with fashion trends too, researchers have found. Experts at a Zambian sanctuary found that after a female named Julie stuck a piece of grass in her ear, other primates began to follow suit. Eventually, eight out of twelve chimps latched on to the “grass-in-ear” trend, which continued even after Julie died. Animal behavioral experts say this may show that chimps create their own cultures which are distinctive to individual troops. “This reflects chimpanzees’ proclivity to actively investigate and learn from group members’ behaviours in order to obtain biologically relevant information,” said researcher Edwin van Leeuwen of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. “The fact that these behaviours can be arbitrary and outlast the originator speaks to the cultural potential of chimpanzees.”