Chimpanzees recognize each other’s butts the way we recognize faces


For chimpanzees, it’s all about the butt. You won’t find a female chimp going “My eyes are up here,” as it turns out that chimps often tell each other apart based on their behinds. Their brains even process butts in the same way that we process faces.

For a study published this week in the journal PLoS One (delightfully titled “Getting to the Bottom of Face Processing”), Dutch researchers recruited both humans and chimpanzees to match photos of various body parts and compared how they did.

Humans need to tell each other apart to survive, and we have specific brain areas for recognizing faces. We recognize people’s faces based on evaluating the whole face, not by putting together the individual parts. That’s why we get worse at…

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