Just like humans, happier orangutans live longer, according to the scientists. This information may be able to shed some light on the evolution of happiness in the human world.
As shown by previous studies, happy people live much longer. In order to find out whether it is for our closest relatives, monkeys, scientists have suggested ministers Zoo seven years ago to begin to assess the state of happiness 172 orangutans, including 89 Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii), 53 orangutans, Bornean (Pongo pygmaeus) and 30 hybrid orangutans .
Servants of the zoo noted how often the monkeys were in a good or bad mood, the degree of enjoyment of their social relationships, and if they manage to achieve their goals, such as obtaining certain items if they wish.
Scientists at the result, found that orangutans, who felt happier, were more prone to having to live up to seven years longer. This effect was the same, even when such factors such as gender, age, type and number of times they were transferred to the new environment were taken into account.
"Impressions of well-being or happiness orangutans - and probably other species - should not be recognized as a desirable way of thinking or anthropomorphism (likening man)" - noted issledovatelAleksandr Weiss (Alexander Weiss), a primatologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, the agency LiveScience. "Instead, these experiences should be considered as valid indicators of animal welfare and should be taken seriously."
While some researchers still find that it is hardly a good mood is the reason for the longer life of the orang-utans, happiness orangutans in captivity may indicate the state of their health and well-being. As such, it could be a valuable tool to ensure their future health, happiness and survival.
"One possible reason for the fact that orangutans are showing themselves to be less happy, perhaps for hidden health problems or health problems that were not detected by conventional examinations. If this is the reason for the orangutans in captivity, in which there is a manifestation of the lower subjective well-being, they should be examined in more detail or Regular "- said Weiss.
"On the other hand, happiness orangutans reflect their stay in strenuous physical or social environment, and so, this situation can also lead to poor health and reduced life expectancy. If so, then work hard to improve their living environment can lead to better health and well-being . "
This line of research could also afford to look differently on the role of happiness not only for the orang-utans, but also in the lives of our distant ancestors.
"Data suggest that the measurement of well-being or happiness, like these may be the same as among men, and among orangutans, with whom we have common ancestors about 14 million years ago" - said Weiss. "As such, it makes it possible to study the evolution of what is considered as something quite subjective and ephemeral some of us."
"This research through a greater variety of species could give a fascinating insight into the evolution foundation of happiness, depression and other psychological characteristics that impact on people’s lives and, most likely, and to individuals of another species" - said Weiss.
"Once the mechanisms and evolution of the foundation of happiness will be unraveled by scientists, I would like to implement the intervention studies to determine whether the degree of happiness in orangutans or in individuals of other species to be improved" - concluded Weiss. Weiss also hopes in the future to calculate the mechanisms underlying the relationship between happiness and longevity.
The scientists describe in detail its findings on June 29 in the journal "Biology Letters".
Original: LiveScience Translation: M. Potter