Have you ever noticed how your life is a whole lot less stressful when you have a buddy nearby? Whether it’s a significant other or just a simple friend, having company tends to take the load off, and it turns out these feelings might not be unique to just humans.
New research published in the journal Nature Communications reveals that the same feelings might exist in chimpanzees, our closest living relative on Earth today.
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Throughout the study, researchers followed a total of about 78 Chimpanzees from the Budongo Forest in Uganda and collected urine samples along the way. They then stored the urine in a way it could be preserved until testing was possible, so it was contained in thermoses that were chilled with liquid nitrogen.
As they collected the urine samples, they took careful note of the chimpanzees’ behavior. Whether the animals were simply resting, grooming, or fighting with others, all of these situations had the potential to invoke different forms of stress, and provided good testing grounds.
When the researchers got back to the lab, the testing revealed that less cortisol (a stress hormone), existed in the urine samples when they were accompanied by what’s referred to as a “bond partner,” otherwise translated in the human world to “best friend,” no matter what they may have been doing.
When accompanied by their bond partner, the concentration of cortisol in their urine samples was up to 23% less than if they were alone, which is quite a significant amount.
Stress can be a trigger for all sorts of issues that can lead to poor decisions, poor health, and even early death. “It can have effects on immune function, cardio function, fertility, cognition, even your mood,” said study coauthor Kevin Langergraber. “Social bonds make you survive and produce better.”
It would seem from these results that when you live a happier and more social life, whether you’re a human or a chimpanzee, stress levels are decreased, and that means all these stress-induced drawbacks can remain at bay.
Source: Cosmos Magazine