Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas? Chimps don’t always either, so they improvise–giving us a window into how human children play.

Female chimpanzees seem to treat sticks as dolls, carrying them around until they’re old enough to produce real chimp babies, while young males remain uninterested. This not only reveals that chimps (like humans) can use their imagination, it also points out basic differences between boys and girls.

PhysOrg.com quotes biologist Sonya M. Kahlenberg as saying, "In humans, there are robust sex differences in children’s toy play, and these are remarkably similar across cultures. While socialization by elders and peers has been the primary explanation, our work suggests that biology may also have an important role to play in activity preferences." So don’t try to get your daughter to play with a truck or your son to collect dolls–it’s futile.

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