Psychological Society Conference: Chimps `deserve human rights'

CHIMPANZEES HAVE a range of personalities and character traits similar to those found in humans, according to new research. A study presented yesterday to the British Psychological Society in Belfast will fuel the debate over whether chimpanzees should share basic human rights.

Dr Lindsay Murray, of University College London, studied 59 chimpanzees at Chester, London and Twycross zoos. She found that personality varied according to age and sex, and each had a unique character. By assessing 25 traits, she identified five distinct types, from "sociably confident" to "excitably timid" and "socially placid".

Chimpanzees share 98 per cent of their genes with humans, but are still used for experiments in the United States and the Netherlands.

"Our research is scientific proof that chimps do have a unique personality... and have many human qualities... Chimps should be granted basic human rights," Dr Murray said.