Chimpanzees develop their own green cross code for jungle highways

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Chimpanzees have developed the ability to cross roads safely, research has found. Male chimpanzees protect females and their young by taking the front and rear positions in a line, to avoid the danger of traffic.

The study of a chimp community in Bossou, Guinea, conducted by the University of Stirling, has built on prior research that adult female and young monkeys occupy the protected middle positions of a line when travelling towards potentially unsafe areas, such as waterholes.

Kimberley Hockings, who worked on the study, said in the journal Current Biology: "Road-crossing, a human-created challenge, presents a new situation that calls for flexibility of responses by chimpanzees to variations in perceived risk, helping to improve our understanding about the evolution of human social organisation. Dominant individuals act co-operatively with a high level of flexibility to maximise group protection."