Portsmouth research says friendship is vital

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SCIENTISTS at the University of Portsmouth have discovered friendship can be valuable during encounters with predators.

Primatologists found that crested macaque monkeys are more likely to respond to alarm calls made by their friends in the study, which has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

It is the first time the role of friendship has been investigated in the context of predator defence.

Macaques have three main predators – dogs, pythons and humans – and the presence of any will cause macaques to make an alarm call.

In the case of a python sighting, a call is given for other monkeys to join in a counter-attack by mobbing the snake.

Lead researcher Jerome Micheletta said: ‘Strong social bonds are crucial for humans’ health and wellbeing but friendship is uniquely human.

‘We knew friendships were important among crested macaques but until now we didn’t know whether it played a role during encounters with predators.