Female chimps play more with "female" toys than male chimps

Female chimps play more with "female" toys than male chimps

When presented with sex-stereotyped human toys, wild chimpanzees play more with typically female toys, while male chimpanzees play more with male toys .

This is what suggests the first study that has obtained evidence of non-human, wild species, playing with rustic dolls. The work is also the first to observe differences in the choice of toys , made by wild animals of different sexes.

14 years of observation

After 14 years of observation in the Kibala National Park, the American ethologists Sonya M. Kahlenberg and Richard W. Wrangham found that there were differences between chimpanzees based on their sex when choosing toys.

This idea is interesting in the sense that it dismantles the proposition that everything we do is cultural, it has its origin in a social construction. As in any other behavior, there is a cultural and a biological part .

In the study, published a few years ago in the journal Current Biology , it is suggested that when they present human toys, chimpanzees play more with typically female toys, while chimpanzees play more with male toys. In human and non-human primates, then, females have a greater interest in babies and males in rough play .

Kahlenberg and Wrangham write that:

Juveniles tend to carry sticks in a manner that suggests a rudimentary doll and that, as in children and captive monkeys, this behavior is more common in females than in males. These investigations suggest that a similar sexual difference may have occurred in the human and prehuman lineage, at least considering our common ancestry with chimpanzees, long before direct socialization became a major influence.

However, more studies should be carried out among primates with less sexual dimorphism, such as bonobos. The gender differences in children when it comes to toys are strong and similar in different cultures. They include the tendency of girls to play more with dolls and that of boys, with wheels and weapons. This pattern is explained by socialization with adults and with their peers. Similarly, girls who were exposed to high fetal androgen levels tend to make relatively masculine toy choices .

Of course, this does not mean that everything is biological and that we cannot do anything to change it (at least to some extent). Which means that it is a behavior that arises from such a complex interaction between nature and nurture that perhaps the mere question "what influences more?" it doesn’t even make sense .

Naturally, this is still the subject of analysis, and should not feed any prejudice, because the problem is not that there are differences between men and women , the problem is the value we place on those differences … I mean, do we value things masculine more than feminine, just because our society is more patriarchal and therefore biased towards masculine preferences and abilities?