I am (just as would be a Chimp) aghast at this 'revelation'. Obviously what the human race needed adding to it's lexicon of knowledge was the (surely, to anyone, based upon common sense observation?) fact that the members of our evolutionary tree occupying the lower branches are capable of emotional behaviour. And of course, lots of money and time had to be spent establishing this - apparently to help us understand the origins of our behaviour. I think I might start doing research into why understanding the origins of our behaviour is actually relevant to anything.
Now, I have no problem with academic pursuits per se; to me it's one of the hallmarks of a functioning society, but I do wonder about the validity of the reasoning behind studies such as this. It's never going to stop of course; the quest for more knowledge will go on in total disregard for a middle aged curmudgeon such as myself (and quite rightly so - I am after all an invisible dot upon an invisible dot), but surely there's a sensible limit on what we really need to know?
I have no doubt that anthropologists around the world will be interested in these findings, but I do have my doubts about their application to, for example, dealing with life-changing mood disorders, which intuitively would seem to be better served by observation and study of human behaviour in the present. However, the principle is much more broad than that, and I have been moved to do just a little bit of digging for some other examples of questionable research (all bought and paid for, of course).
Here are some examples of information that the human race could not have done without (allegedly):
- Chinstrap Penguins can squirt poo up to 40cm. (Lucky b*****ds)
- Dog fleas can jump higher than cat fleas. (I bet there's a doping scandal in there somewhere)
- Lap dancers get bigger tips when they are ovulating. (Not a typo: tiPs)
- Rats cannot always differentiate between Japanese spoken backwards and Dutch spoken backwards. (This, plus a lack of opposable thumbs, is why rats will never inherit the earth)
- Vanilla flavouring can be extracted from cow dung. (Yes, but while the Vanilla Plant exists...)