Best buds

6 animal bromances that show the value of male friendship

There’s strength in numbers.



In many species of animals, males tend to be aggressive and territorial toward members of the same sex.

But there are times when forming friendships provides an evolutionary benefit that going at it alone simply doesn’t.

Here are 6 animal bromances that show the value of friendship:

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6. Chimps

Male chimps regularly participate in friendly behaviors toward each other — even when they have competition for mates. Research published August 17 in the journal iScience finally nails down why.

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"Chimps cooperate frequently, and often in these very dramatic ways: You see things like grooming, all kinds of complex alliance formation, and group territorial defense.”

Joseph Feldblum, study author and University of Michigan researcher

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It turns out these behaviors help them sire more young.


5. Macaques

These male monkeys also form friendships to help climb the social ladder — and their motive might be similar to those of chimps.


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A 2010 report in Current Biology found that the strength of male bonds directly correlated with how many offspring they produced.

Even in the wild, friends help friends out.

4. Woodpeckers

The acorn woodpecker is known for its polygamous breeding habits, in which several birds will live together and raise chicks.

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An August 17 report published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that males living in groups with one or two others of the same sex produce more offspring over the course of their lives.

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The non-breeding males will help raise their pal’s offspring.

More care means a higher chance that those babies will one day become fully-fledged members of bird society.

3. Scrub Jays

The Florida Scrub-Jay also raises offspring in groups, allowing many hands — er, wings — to help their young reach adulthood.

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Male scrub jays, who are usually adult offspring from seasons past, will hang around the nest and help their parents care for the young until they find their own mate.

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2. Lions

Power comes in numbers for these big cats.



Young males will form coalitions that can help them overthrow other males in power once they’re strong enough to fight.


Oftentimes, young male lions will band together with their biological brothers, and one will be in charge of the whole group.

1. Rats

When in moderately stressful situations, rats will bond with members of the same sex.




Friendship bonds release oxytocin in the brains of both us and rats. In turn, we’re motivated to socialize more — a result that can make us more cooperative and empathetic in hectic times.

Read more stories about animals here.

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