TIME Uncovers Science Behind Animal Friendships

Catherine Ledner/ TIME

Catherine Ledner/ TIME

(ANIMAL FRIENDS) Conventional thinking has long considered friendship as a trait only associated with people. This month’s TIME Magazine explores what many already know — various animals, in addition to humans, form long-lasting bonds with each other that can only be categorized as friendship. In his study of chimpanzees in the Kibale National Park in Uganda, primatologist John Mitani witnessed the deep emotional bond shared by unrelated chimps in the wild. Many other researchers have found the same complex relationships among baboons, dolphins, elephants, dogs, and more. 

A provocative implication of these animal studies is that friendships that evolved within species can also reach across the species barrier. We’ve seen it with a gorilla and a kitten, an elephant and a dog, a lion and a meerkat, a horse and a kitten, a dog and a dolphin.

What causes friendships among animal species? TIME’s cover story gets into the science behind these complex relationships, uncovering the sharing, sacrificing, and grieving exhibited by animal species that can only be associated with the enduring bond of friendship. This new research is changing the way we think about nonhuman animal societies, and ultimately, ourselves. — Global Animal

To read the full article, visit TIME.com.

Photo credit: Catherine Ledner/TIME