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Imitation is a type of behaviour where one animal copies another animal. Humans often imitate each other, often without realising it. When people talk to each other, they may stand or sit in a similar way, and copy each other’s movements. Scientists think that this happens so that the speakers feel more at ease with other.


Joyce Butler with Nim the chimpanzee

Some chimpanzees have been taught sign language by imitating people.

Imitation helps us to learn how to do new things. Your teachers often show you how to do something new, and then guide you as you try to repeat what they did.

Some scientists think that humans are the only animals that copy each other. Other scientists have observed chimpanzees and other primates imitating each other.

For example, chimpanzees can use sticks to spear juicy grubs to eat. Other chimpanzees copy this behaviour. In this way they learn new skills.


Behaviour activity

Is it instinct or conditioning that makes you study science?



Join Questionaut's quest to find his friend's hat.

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