Chimpanzees engage in close physical contact for a variety of reasons. They might be seeking reassurance, playfully tickling one another, or quietly grooming. If two chimpanzees haven’t seen each other in a while, they often embrace each other just as we would. But what I love most is seeing chimpanzees hug, kiss, or hold hands out of sheer joy or celebration. For the Cle Elum Seven, just being on Young’s Hill is still reason enough to celebrate
Jamie encounters Foxie on the hill and puts her arm around her friend:
Foxie responds by giving Jamie a “soft bite” on her back (this is a friendly behavior):
Foxie and Jamie run off with big smiles on their faces:
Later, Jamie walked by Jody, who was eating grass near the bamboo. Jamie stops and gives Jody and quick kiss:
Chimpanzee kisses are slightly different than human kisses. A chimp kiss usually involves a soft bite, often with the lips covering the teeth, and some breathy panting. When Jody moved to a different bamboo grove, she received a kiss on the arm from Foxie:
A dominant male chimpanzee usually accepts submissive greetings from subordinates like a king is greeted by a commoner. The subordinates are made (or choose?) to grovel, and the dominant male acts like he is being generous by allowing the subordinate to be in his presence. Burrito, however, is not dominant, and he lacks some rudimentary chimpanzee social skills. Rather than submit to the females or accept their submission, he usually closes his eyes and acts like he doesn’t even see them when they approach him. But sometimes Jamie won’t let him get away with that, and in this case she ran after him and grabbed his feet. While foot-grabbing is usually an invitation to play, in this case Jamie seemed to be forcing Burrito to simply acknowledge her friendly greeting.
Sometimes greetings are preceded by a lengthy introduction. Jody often greets Burrito in this manner – there is a lot of pant grunting and bobbing (bouncing up and down on all fours), and in Jody’s case even some soft pant-hooting, before the two ever make contact. In this clip, Annie waits for Foxie to approach and gives her an extended greeting: