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Do humans cause chimpanzees to become violent? No.

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Chimp with body of hostile male killed in fight/John Mitani

It was tempting to title this post: “What do most people suspect that some primate researchers can’t?” Naw.

From ScienceDaily:

New research from an international coalition of ape researchers, published September 18 in the journal Nature, has shed new light on the subject, suggesting that human encroachment and interference is not, as previous researchers have claimed, an influential predictor of chimp-on-chimp aggression.
The study began as a response to a growing number of commentators claiming that chimpanzee violence was caused by human impacts. “This is an important question to get right. If we are using chimpanzees as a model for understanding human violence, we need to know what really causes chimpanzees to be violent,” said University of Minnesota researcher Michael L. Wilson, lead author on the study.

A team of 30 ape researchers assembled extensive data sets spanning five decades of research gathered from 18 chimpanzee communities experiencing varying degrees of human influence. In all, data included pattern analysis of 152 killings by chimpanzees. The key findings indicate that a majority of violent attackers and victims of attack are male chimpanzees, and the information is consistent with the theory that these acts of violence are driven by adaptive fitness benefits rather than human impacts.

“Wild chimpanzee communities are often divided into two broad categories depending on whether they exist in pristine or human disturbed environments,” explained Morgan. “In reality, however, human disturbance can occur along a continuum and study sites included in this investigation spanned the spectrum. We found human impact did not predict the rate of killing among communities.

Now that they can assign a proposed Darwinian cause, “adaptive fitness benefits,” they can let go of a genuinely crackpot cause, human impacts.

In reality chimpanzees are probably violent by nature, whether it is adaptive or not. If life forms are inclined to violence, they will behave that way, and the outcome is whatever happens.

This article, by a chimp trainer’s daughter, may be of interest here.

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rhampton7, I would not begin by assuming that one needs some tool to measure consciousness. It assumes things that are either highly questionable or demonstrably false. And the very idea that you propose itself lacks a tool for it's measurement. It must be unscientific. And it can't therefore be real. Mung
Mung, It was you who asked; Is that because they all share a conscience? How would you determine if they all have a conscience, and if so, to what extant? rhampton7
To test that idea we would need a way of measuring the conscience.
How do we measure your idea that to test that idea we would need a way of measuring the conscience? Mung
phoodoo- Visit the links found on feral children Joe
Chimps have been observed planning an attack on monkeys and executing that plan. Indications are they haven't figured out the spicing and cooking part yet. Joe
Mung, Is that because they all share a conscience? To test that idea we would need a way of measuring the conscience. There has been some work in that area, led by Frans de Waal, and there are indications that our biological cousins do possess rudimentary morality that overlaps some of our concepts of good and bad. But this is a newly opened field of study so it's best to wait and see where the science leads us. rhampton7
What I am saying is that if you brought a human up in the wild, not in captivity, they have no chance.
The first humans that came to America were living in the wild. Joe
What can a human baby do to help itself survive? Is there any animal more pathetic? This is what evolution gives us? For humans evolution seems to have only taken away physical abilities, instead of giving them. Unless a human is taught something by others, it is not capable of life. phoodoo
Joe, What I am saying is that if you brought a human up in the wild, not in captivity, they have no chance. Why is that? If you take almost any animal and throw it in water, it knows how to swim. If you let it wonder around in the woods, it knows how to find food. A chimpanzee doesn't need to be taught how to find food, how to smell what it can eat. If you take a baby snake and let it go into the woods all by itself, it will be fine. Why won't a human? Why would humans evolve to be useless without being taught everything? Our skin wont protect us from cold, our nose won't help us do anything, thorns will go right through our feet, we can't eat almost everything other animals can eat. Why can't humans eat grass, bark , what is the fitness cost of maintaining that ability? We are the weakest creature on the planet. phoodoo
Actually, Joe, we know what happens when animals brought up in captivity are let loose to fend for themselves. If they survive, they revert to type, a general wild type capable of survival without human assistance. Almost all human breeding involves some loss of such independence in favour of traits either useful to or admired by humans. News
phoodoo- How do you think other animals would fare if they were brought up in captivity and then let loose to fend for themselves? Joe
Could a human being do anything if it wasn't taught? If left alone to figure out how to survive we are the single most useless creature on the planet by far. We would freeze to death in a matter of days, before we even had a chance to die of thirst. phoodoo
So it couldn't be that chimps from a hundred years ago were influenced by humans, passed that down and it spread? How could they eliminate that possibility? Kidding aside, the jungle and savanna are places rife with violence. It wouldn't take much for an animal with some intelligence to catch on to the "kill or be killed" mentality. Joe
If humans and chimps share a common ancestor, and are so closely related, why can't you put a 10 year old (or even a thirty year old) alone in the woods, and expect them to be able to find food just as easily as a chimpanzee could do. Chimps can use their nose and instinctively know what to eat and what not to eat, and even what time is best to eat leaves during the day, because many leaves have different amounts of sugars at different times of the day. In fact all animals can do this except humans. So we are to believe that this ability is detrimental in terms of fitness costs and so was selected out of the population? And when did we lose the ability to eat grasses and bark? And drink water without boiling it. All of these abilities evolution causes us to lose? Because its advantageous to be useless at finding food? How long did that take? phoodoo
When the chimps and gorillas take over the world, and Charleton Heston is beating his fists on the sand in the shadow of a ruined Statue of Liberty, you will be singing a different tune. Acartia_bogart
Is that because they all share a conscience? Mung
Humans are as closely related to Chimpanzees as they are to Bonobos. rhampton7
Are humans really just chimpanzees with a conscience? Mung

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