Animal minds Culture Naturalism

Guess what? It’s NOT humans’ fault that chimps kill each other

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Pan troglodytes & Pan paniscus.jpg
common chimpanzee and bonobo/Chandres William H. Calvin, CC

Some articles in science journals leave one wondering, that’s for sure. At Nature:

Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts

Abstract: Observations of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (Pan paniscus) provide valuable comparative data for understanding the significance of conspecific killing. Two kinds of hypothesis have been proposed. Lethal violence is sometimes concluded to be the result of adaptive strategies, such that killers ultimately gain fitness benefits by increasing their access to resources such as food or mates1,2,3,4,5. Alternatively, it could be a non-adaptive result of human impacts, such as habitat change or food provisioning6,7,8,9. To discriminate between these hypotheses we compiled information from 18 chimpanzee communities and 4 bonobo communities studied over five decades. Our data include 152 killings (n = 58 observed, 41 inferred, and 53 suspected killings) by chimpanzees in 15 communities and one suspected killing by bonobos. We found that males were the most frequent attackers (92% of participants) and victims (73%); most killings (66%) involved intercommunity attacks; and attackers greatly outnumbered their victims (median 8:1 ratio). Variation in killing rates was unrelated to measures of human impacts. Our results are compatible with previously proposed adaptive explanations for killing by chimpanzees, whereas the human impact hypothesis is not supported. (paywall) More.

Why would anyone think it was humans’ fault that chimpanzees kill each other—or that bears do? Does anyone really believe that these types of  life forms would tumble to the idea of living in peace simply because they’d never encountered humans? Wow.

How do we know that lethal aggression is even an adaptive “strategy”? Perhaps an aggressive animal will aggress whether it works for him or not. Under favorable conditions, he survives and breeds but that doesn’t make his tendencies a strategy.

😉 Under unfavorable conditions, the winner might be the animal that quietly left the scene with a nearby female …

See also: Intelligence tests unfair to apes?

Are apes entering the Stone Age?

3 Replies to “Guess what? It’s NOT humans’ fault that chimps kill each other

  1. 1
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Why would anyone think it was humans’ fault that chimpanzees kill each other—or that bears do? Does anyone really believe that these types of life forms would tumble to the idea of living in peace simply because they’d never encountered humans? Wow.

    I can only think of a twisted or just circular scenario.

    The primary fact, around which everything revolves, of course is “we are chimps”.

    So, we’d think that “since chimps murder, that explains why we do”. Yes, but the academic oligarchs and media elite don’t like that. They are against murder and violence, supposedly. So, evolution made chimps to be innocent and good. When we murder, we’re being bad chimps, because chimps would never do such things. The fact that chimps do actually kill each other creates a problem.
    So … obviously, the only reason the good, innocent chimps murder is because we caused them to. We corrupted them.

    But wait – didn’t we just say that we’re chimps also?

    Well, no. We’re not chimps any more when we need to be scolded by Nature magazine. Now we are chimp-corrupting-humans that carry guns and support bad politicians. We’re no longer the good, innocent chimps we should have been.

    But wait again — didn’t our evolutionary past cause us to be murderous and violent for Very Good Reasons, as is the case with everything that evolution creates?

    Didn’t we had to survive and reproduce and thus needed Uzzi’s and AK 47s and we had to kill a lot of people and animals and other organisms?

    Well – no. We can’t blame evolution for that. Evolution only wanted the best for us. We decided to go our own way – and look what happened! We ruined ourselves and now we caused monkeys to kill each other.

  2. 2
    john_a_designer says:

    Why would anyone think it was humans’ fault that chimpanzees kill each other

    Even so that doesn’t mean that when a chimp kills another chimp they shouldn’t be arrested and charged with homicide— I mean “chimpacide.” Where are the chimp police when society needs them?

  3. 3
    vmahuna says:

    John @ 2

    What about Bat-chimp? I don’t know who he is behind that mask of his, but we need him, and we need him NOW…

    na na na-na, na na na-na, Bat-chimp!

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