Do Human and Vampire Bat Friendships Share the Same Origin?

Human Generosity Project Members Interviewed about Their Research for an Article Published by Sapiens

 September 1, 2016

Vampire Bats Sapiens

Human Generosity Project co-director Lee Cronk and Human Generosity Project member Dennis Sonkoi were interviewed by online publisher Sapiens for an article about friendship. Cronk and Sonkoi described their research with the Maasai people, a pastoral ethnic group in Kenya. They emphasized how a casual friendship can bloom into a special type of friendship known among the Maasai as osotua, which means umbilical cord. Osotua friends go beyond casual friendship by serving as each other’s safety nets against adversity. Cronk adds that developing an emotional bond may have been an efficient evolutionary adaptation that allowed for close friends, such as osotua, to rely on each other in times of need.

The article goes on to talk about the similarities between how vampire bats share food with each other and the sharing of resources that occurs among human friends. Similar to osotua friendships, hungry vampire bats that have been unable to obtain enough nutrition turn to their bat friends for food. Their friends respond by regurgitating some of the blood they have obtained into their friends’ mouths. This giving behavior among vampire bats might share a common evolutionary origin with human friendships, both of which provide individuals with greater resilience in the face of adverse circumstances.

Click here to read the article.

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