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Why Chimpanzees Kill - Comments

Metamag's Avatar Comment 1 by Metamag

What did appear to be a factor was the number of males in a group: the higher the number of males in a group, the higher the number of kills.

Hm, I wonder how human homosexuality would fit into this?

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:17:36 UTC | #936494

RichardofYork's Avatar Comment 2 by RichardofYork

Im not sure human homosexuals kill chimpanzees although I might be wrong ;o)

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:39:06 UTC | #936498

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 3 by jbkaffe

I wonder if there has ever been any observations or recordings of homosexuality in a chimp? Male or female. And I wonder how it would affect other chimps. And how they would react to eachother. Or are they all just in the closet to some extent?

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:41:25 UTC | #936499

godsbelow's Avatar Comment 4 by godsbelow

Bonobos routinely engage in homosexual activity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonobo#Sexual_social_behavior

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 19:55:32 UTC | #936502

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 5 by Peter Grant

This is interesting:

As for the bonobos, this study bolsters the claim that they are less aggressive than chimpanzees: there were no clear-cut homicides in any of the bonobo communities. Another presentation given at the meeting provided a possible clue to the apparent absence of male aggression among these apes: Victoria Wobber of Harvard University and her colleagues studied testosterone levels in chimpanzees and bonobos from infancy to adulthood and found that whereas chimpanzee testosterone levels surged during adolescence (particularly among males), bonobo testosterone production remained consistent over the course of development.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:02:09 UTC | #936504

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 6 by SheerReason

As for the bonobos, this study bolsters the claim that they are less aggressive than chimpanzees: there were no clear-cut homicides in any of the bonobo communities. Another presentation given at the meeting provided a possible clue to the apparent absence of male aggression among these apes: Victoria Wobber of Harvard University and her colleagues studied testosterone levels in chimpanzees and bonobos from infancy to adulthood and found that whereas chimpanzee testosterone levels surged during adolescence (particularly among males), bonobo testosterone production remained consistent over the course of development.

Much as I would expect. I'm only half-joking here, but if the wrong people in Uganda heard of the homosexual behavior of Bonobos, there may be some violence toward chimps and bonobos in Uganda.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:42:52 UTC | #936512

sheepcat's Avatar Comment 7 by sheepcat

When it comes to social interaction Bonobos have us beat.

So jealous.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:46:19 UTC | #936513

sheepcat's Avatar Comment 8 by sheepcat

I have never really thought about it before but Bonobos also give lie to that old stalwart of the religious bigot that sex is for procreation not recreation, I wonder what devout christians make of their lewdness!

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:48:44 UTC | #936514

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

Chimpanzees are mostly peaceable creatures, spending much of their time foraging for food and grooming each other.

Try telling that to a Colobus Monkey.

Chimps hunting a monkey - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDFh5JdYh7I David Attenborough following chimps on the hunt. 2 minute video.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 20:53:22 UTC | #936515

mtgilbert's Avatar Comment 10 by mtgilbert

Not homicide - it would have to be panicide.

Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:37:15 UTC | #936526

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 11 by Zeuglodon

Comment 1 by Metamag

It has been proposed that homosexuals gain a survival advantage by convincing jealous males that there's no danger on the sexual front. Of course, for any gene or genes influencing this phenotype to be passed on at all, it must either be via a sibling or by acting heterosexual at the right moment, which not only negates the pacifying message and renders it null, but risks countermeasures evolving among jealous males.

Comment 5 by Peter Grant

Indeed it is. The parallels with human male puberty and the notorious aggressiveness and recklessness of adolescent men are uncanny.

Comment 7 by sheepcat

When it comes to social interaction Bonobos have us beat.

Yep. Looks like humanity missed out on the genetic lottery here. X-D

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 03:27:06 UTC | #936591

SelfDTerminator's Avatar Comment 12 by SelfDTerminator

Comment 2 by RichardofYork :

Im not sure human homosexuals kill chimpanzees although I might be wrong ;o)

To be honest, it seems gay guys get their stereotype for a reason. Most gay guys I've ever met we're rather inordinately gentle. I wonder why that is?

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 04:06:45 UTC | #936597

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 13 by Vorlund

Wilson and his collaborators found that kills occurred in most of the chimpanzee communities and that victims tended to be infant and adult males outside the killer’s social group. Most of the killings were conducted by groups of males.

No kidding? Thompson has previously referred to male bonded coalitionary violence in humans and has noted that it frequently occurs in chimpanzees.

The point being that this behaviour is favoured by evolution. However it is too obvious to say that chimps have yet to draw up a short list of acceptable reasons to kill eachother (the Ten commandments) or use other biblical mayhem recommended by doG as an excuse.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 07:03:45 UTC | #936613

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

Comment 13 by Vorlund

It would seem to me , that it would only be a small step from the male gangs hunting other monkeys, to move from being hunters to warriors in defending group territory. Food resources are rarely wasted in the wild, so it is perhaps no surprise that "out-groups" of chimps are treated as prey just like the Colobus monkeys (linked @9).

Many predators kill their own or related kind. (Cats, dogs, bears, spiders, sharks)

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 10:07:34 UTC | #936636

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 15 by Vorlund

Male bonded coalitionary violence is primarily about eliminating competition either for food or available females. It typicaly involves an 'in group' ganging up and killing any outsider, whether they are a threat or not is irrelevant they only have to be thought to be a threat. I suspect the actual mechanism is complex but is probably signalled by a group leader (alpha male) with subordinate males going along with the attack. Whether they have more or less to lose than an alpha male is another debate. Chimps launch coalitionary lethal assaults without the benefit of complex spoken language to direct the group.

There are human parallels in the gangs of youths we read about in the papers kicking lone strangers to death. The military rely on male bonding to form successful coalitions in regiments. It is one of the basic forces that drive cohesion in groups, loyalty to a leader and tribal behaviour. The fact that few individuals are capable of dissent when required to carry out violence against an 'enemy' indicates how deeply this behaviour is embedded from our evolutionary past. The defence 'I was only following orders' becomes compelling.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 13:59:45 UTC | #936687

Metamag's Avatar Comment 16 by Metamag

Comment 11 by Zeuglodon :

It has been proposed that homosexuals gain a survival advantage by convincing jealous males that there's no danger on the sexual front.

Yep, that certainly seems likely to be the case and with many other studies that directly and indirectly point to this.

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 15:39:52 UTC | #936710

Rosbif's Avatar Comment 17 by Rosbif

Nothing new here. Males who aren't getting laid start killing others outside of their "group". They'll be wearing frocks and pointy hats next and saying god told them to do it!

Bonobos are like hippy Chimps man. Has science checked all the plants they eat?

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 08:44:01 UTC | #936951

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 18 by huzonfurst

@10, panicide is right - and that should also apply to us since the genus 'Homo' is an insult to the taxonomic system. The story I heard was that it was made up for political purposes to avoid upsetting too many people about how closely we're related to chimps and bonobos. We rightfully belong to the genus Pan, and as for that 'sapiens' part, well...make it 'bellicosus' for the sake of accuracy.

I'm no expert on this, but Jared Diamond wrote a whole book called "The Third Chimpanzee" about it. Perhaps Richard could comment?

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 13:36:42 UTC | #936993

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 19 by DavidMcC

Comment 1 by Metamag :

What did appear to be a factor was thenumber of males in a group: the higher the number of males in a group, thehigher the number of kills.

Hm, I wonder how human homosexuality would fit into this?

Maybe it's chimp politics, not sexuality.

Tue, 24 Apr 2012 14:07:22 UTC | #936998

Sue Blue's Avatar Comment 20 by Sue Blue

If male chimpanzees kill other males due to possible sexual rivalry, then it makes sense that bonobos don't kill. There's no sexual rivalry, competition or tension among bonobos because they have sex all the time, with anybody. Males don't have to fight over females. Males work off the "aggression" caused by testosterone by having sex instead of fighting or killing. Just a thought, but it makes sense to me.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 03:58:41 UTC | #937125

DavidMcC's Avatar Comment 21 by DavidMcC

Comment 20 by Sue Blue :

If male chimpanzees kill other males due to possible sexual rivalry, then it makes sense that bonobos don't kill. There's no sexual rivalry, competition or tension among bonobos because they have sex all the time, with anybody. Males don't have to fight over females. Males work off the "aggression" caused by testosterone by having sex instead of fighting or killing. Just a thought, but it makes sense to me.

Sexual rivalry no doubt plays a role, but politics must come into it as well. That is why it isn't a free-for-all of every male against every other male.

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 08:41:22 UTC | #937153