Why do people greet each other

Do people welcome an invention? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! That's how enthusiastically monkeys do it

  • Hello! This greeting is celebrated on November 21st.
  • World Hello Day was invented by people, but not by greeting itself.
  • Monkeys do this much more often and exuberantly than we do. They even become intimate in ways unthinkable to us.

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Two Guinea baboons meet in the savannah. One grunts softly, the other too. So it works because: Guinea baboons grunt like a friendly hello. The reddish-brown monkey shouldn't care that people dedicate a day in November to this linguistic greeting.

The World hello day founded two brothers from the USA for November 21st, in response to the 1973 Israeli-Arab Yom Kippur War. It is a reminder that conflicts can be resolved through communication. On hello day the motto is to greet at least ten people.

Even if we are not supposed to shake hands or hug each other: A greeting seems important to us, be it in the form of an elbow check, the ghetto fist or an Indian salute.

Animal greetings can get VERY intimate

A friendly welcome is also with monkeys the basis for a peaceful handling. "There are very different ways of greeting. It depends on the relationship between the animals. For monkeys that are friends, very simple signals are sufficient," explains behavioral biologist Julia Fischer, who has been researching primate communication for many years . Simple signals - like a grunt.

When two male Guinea baboons greet each other, it can get really intimate: After grabbing each other's hips and wiggling their heads - "headbanging-like," says Fischer - they sometimes grip the other person's penis. How strange - for us humans. The baboons thus signal absolute mutual trust. "I only do that with someone I can completely rely on," says the behavioral scientist and laughs.

In the case of males, the greeting ritual can be even more complicated because the subject of competition always resonates with them. Regardless of the gestures and noises with which Guinea baboons greet each other, they always serve to Mark out groups: "We who do this together, we are in a gang."

Monkeys are more euphoric in greeting than humans

The greeting also plays an important role in monkeys in order to achieve that To sound out the structure within the group. There are regular competitive situations there, "because you are competing for the same food or for a mating partner," says Fischer. The signals during the greeting allow the monkeys to assess where they are - and how they should behave accordingly in the group.

Guinea baboons greet each other several times a day. This also applies to macaques, which also belong to the vervet family. "Of course, people don't say hello to the same person 100 times a day," says the behavioral scientist. Monkeys are different "they always greet each other".

Macaques can get really excited: They smack their lips to find out whether one is well-disposed towards one another. "With some it gets so great that the teeth clash and the tongue comes out," says Fischer. They sit in front of each other and sometimes hit each other on the shoulder. "As if they meet again after a long time - although the last time you did it an hour ago." (Alexandra Stober, dpa / af)

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