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Chimps bond after watching films together - study
Chimpanzees who watch films together bond in a similar way to humans.

Bonding through shared experience may have deep evolutionary roots

Chimpanzees who watch films together bond in a similar way to humans, according to new research.

Until now, scientists believed that connecting with others was a uniquely human experience. But new research led by Duke University has revealed that apes are also able to create social closeness by participating in group activities.

In the study, chimpanzees, bonobos and humans were put into pairs and shown a short film. The film was of a young chimpanzee playing with its family - footage shown by previous research to capture the attention of great apes.

Each participant sat in a booth and looked through a screen towards a PC showing the video. An eye tracker was used to check the participants were watching the film while a tube filled with grape juice encouraged them to sit still. Once settled, the experimenter could enter the room.

After the film, the team measured how long the participants spent in each others proximity and the time engaged in interactive behaviours. They found that both chimpanzees and bonobos approached their partner faster after having watched a video with them.

'Our results suggest that one of the most basic mechanisms of human social bonding—feeling closer to those with whom we act or attend together—is present in both humans and great apes, and thus has deeper evolutionary roots than previously suspected,' the researchers conclude.

The study, Visually attending to a video together facilitates great ape social closeness, is published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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RCVS Fellowship board chair elections get underway

Voting for the 2019 RCVS Fellowship Chair election is now underway. This year four candidates are standing for election, including Dr Robert Huey, Professor John Innes, Professor Liz Mossop and Professor Ian Ramsey.

The Chair will attend and preside over Fellowship meetings and take the lead in consolidating the Fellowship’s position as the learned society of the RCVS. Fellows will receive an email containing a link to the online voting form, as well as candidates’ details and manifestos. Voting closes at 5pm on Thursday, 5 September.