Animal Behavior: New Study Shows Chimpanzees Are “Natural Born Killers” And Prefer Intercommunity Mob Violence

- By Bossip Staff

Study: Chimpanzees Are Natural Born Killers And Prefer Mob Violence


According to Washington Post:

Few actions orchestrated in the animal kingdom are awarded a headline that would befit mankind. The chimpanzee, however, is the exception. “Chimp leader assassinated by gang of underlings,” read the headline last year in New Scientist. It told the story of Pimu, who led his cohort of chimpanzees until a violent day in March last year when Pimu picked the wrong fight. Four chimpanzees appeared out of nowhere, according to New Scientist, and beat Pimu to death with their hands and feet. It was a grisly end for a species that, along with humans, are among the only animals to coordinate attacks on their own kind.

But such a murder was a natural action, according to a study published Wednesday in Nature. The paper, which analyzed data from 426 combined years of observation and 18 separate chimp sites, argues chimps are not driven to violence by their contacts with humans, which some scientists have previously contended. Chimps, rather, are natural born killers.

The research feeds into a lengthy debate over the nature of chimp violence, and what it means for humanity’s own propensity for murder. “We’re trying to make inferences about human evolution,” lead researcher Michael L. Wilson, an anthropologist at the University of Minnesota, told the New York Times. Even in areas where humanity’s hand and habitat loss were not discernible, the chimps conveyed the same bellicosity, the research found. It signified that competition over resources–even when abundant–drove the chimp wars.

The findings: among 152 killings, males were the aggressors 92 percent of the time, and the victims 73 percent of the time. Most of the killings were “intercommunity attacks,” meaning that a gang of chimps would gang up on one. The average ratio? Eight to one.

“Chimpanzees often fragment into temporary parties that travel and forage independently within their community’s home range,” wrote anthropologist Joan Silk in an accompanying article. “When parties of males encounter single individuals from other communities, they sometimes launch brutal assaults that leave victims gravely wounded or dead.”

“The behavior of non-human primates, particularly chimpanzees, are often distorted by ideology and anthropomorphism, which produce a predisposition to believe that morally desirable features, such as empathy and altruism, have deep evolutionary roots, whereas undesirable features, such as group-level violence and sexual coercion, do not,” she wrote. “This reflects a naive form of biological determinism.”

Damn, we had no idea – but we’re pretty sure some conservative pundit will be comparing this study to violence in the black community. SMH.


Image via Shutterstock

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