This Amazing PSA Shows How Monkeys Can Be More Compassionate Than Humans

Humans are always amazed when they observe a fellow primate — like a monkey or a chimpanzee — behave in an almost-human way, as if it’s a glimpse into an evolutionary past. Operation Smile, a charity for children with cleft lips, has released a campaign that taps into this primal connection.

Watch below how a monkey can empathise with another it has never met before, suggesting that humans may indeed be fundamentally good (take that, Hobbes):

Brazilian agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi created the ad, which encourages humans to “Stay Apes,” after being inspired by a Duke University study from late last year.

In the experiment, rhesus monkeys played a computer game in which they or a fellow monkey were given a juice reward. They had the option of drinking the juice themselves, sharing the juice, or not having any juice at all. The apes consistently chose to share the juice with their neighbour, even if it meant giving up their portion.

The scientists observed that the reward portion of the monkeys’ brains was stimulated every time they shared.

Operation Smile took in about $US55 million in donations last year, up $US15 million from 2011. They fix children’s cleft lips, in which the lip and often palate is split open since birth. The condition can result in breathing, hearing, and speaking complications, among others.

Oh, and while it doesn’t affect the point of the commercial, monkeys are not actually apes.

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