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Chimps kill each other for territory, study finds
World Science ^ | June 21, 2010 | staff

Posted on 06/21/2010 6:34:12 PM PDT by Willie Green

Chimps, just like hu­mans, kill each oth­er for ter­ri­to­ry, re­search­ers have found.

“Chim­panzees kill each oth­er. They kill their neigh­bors. Up un­til now, we have not known why. Our ob­serva­t­ions in­di­cate that they do so to ex­pand their ter­ri­to­ries at the ex­pense of their vic­tims,” said John Mi­tani of the Uni­vers­ity of Mich­i­gan, a mem­ber of the re­search group.

The slay­ings usu­ally are com­mit­ted by small groups of males on pa­trol, said the sci­en­tists. But un­like in much hu­man warfare—where armies are some­times will­ing to at­tack oth­er, com­pa­rably sized armies—the chimp killers spe­cif­ic­ally seek out lone or badly out­num­bered vic­tims for an easy am­bush.

Com­mon chim­panzees are one of the two spe­cies with the clos­est ev­o­lu­tion­ary rela­t­ion­ship to peo­ple. Sci­en­tists be­lieve that traits shared by chimps and hu­mans were likely pos­sessed by the com­mon an­ces­tors of both. Thus some re­search­ers say the mo­tives and meth­ods of chimp vi­o­lence may shed light on how hu­man vi­o­lence evolved.

Yet Mi­tani and col­leagues ar­gue that stud­ies of chimp ag­gres­sion will re­veal more about why hu­mans so of­ten work to­geth­er than about why we do bat­tle. “Us­ing our re­sults to ad­dress an en­dur­ing ques­tion about why hu­mans are an un­usu­ally co­op­er­a­tive spe­cies may prove to be a more pro­duc­tive line of in­quiry,” the re­search­ers wrote.

Their find­ings are re­ported in the June 22 is­sue of the re­search jour­nal Cur­rent Bi­ol­o­gy.

Mi­tani and col­leagues stud­ied chimps liv­ing in Ngogo, Kibale Na­tional Park, Ugan­da, which have been un­der ob­serva­t­ion over a dec­ade. Dur­ing that time, a team di­rect­ed by Mi­tani and Da­vid Watts of Yale Uni­vers­ity doc­u­mented 21 killings by the Ngogo chimps of in­di­vid­u­als from oth­er groups. Eight­een of those killings were seen di­rect­ly, while the rest were de­duced from cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence.

The re­search­ers think up to 13 of the vic­tims be­longed to a sin­gle neigh­bor­ing group, rep­re­sent­ing an “ex­tremely high” rate of mor­tal­ity due to vi­o­lence among groups.

With some of their com­peti­tors out of the way, the Ngogo chim­panzees be­gan to use a large por­tion of new ter­ri­to­ry to the north­east of their pre­vi­ous range. “Be­cause the newly ac­quired ter­ri­to­ry cor­re­sponds to the ar­ea once oc­cu­pied by many of the vic­tims, we sug­gest that a caus­al link ex­ists” be­tween the vi­o­lence and the ter­ri­to­rial ex­pan­sion, Mi­tani said.

Mi­tani and his col­leagues think the new ter­ri­to­ry most likely ben­e­fits the chimps by af­ford­ing great­er ac­cess to food. It may al­so ul­ti­mately lead to great­er ac­cess to fe­males, but it’s too early to tell, the sci­en­tists said.

The at­tacks are trig­gered when bands of chim­panzees go out “on pa­trol” in­to the ter­ri­to­ry of a neigh­bor­ing chim­pan­zee com­mun­ity, the re­search­ers added. “Pa­trollers are qui­et and move with stealth,” Mi­tani said. “They pause fre­quently to scan the en­vi­ron­ment as they search for oth­er chim­panzees. At­tacks are typ­ic­ally made only when pa­trolling chim­panzees have overwhelming nu­mer­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity over their ad­ver­saries.”

The Ngogo chimps may have an un­usu­al ad­van­tage over their neigh­bors due to the im­pres­sive size of their com­mun­ity, which may ex­plain the sur­pris­ingly high lev­el of vi­o­lence, the re­search­ers say. There are more than 150 Ngogo chimps—a­bout three times the num­ber found in chimp com­mun­i­ties stud­ied else­where.

The study could shed light on how coop­era­t­ion evolved among hu­mans and re­lat­ed spe­cies, Mi­tani and col­leagues said. This is be­cause bru­tal as the chimp slay­ings may be, they il­lus­trate how an­i­mals coop­erate for the ben­e­fit of their group.

“Our ob­serva­t­ions in­di­cate that ter­ri­to­rial con­flict leads chim­panzees in some groups to cede land to mem­bers of oth­er groups as a con­se­quence of le­thal coali­tionary ag­gres­sion,” the re­search­ers wrote. “In the pro­cess, chim­panzees in com­mun­i­ties that gain ter­ri­to­ry ob­tain in­creased ac­cess to re­sources that are then avail­a­ble to oth­ers in the group.”

The ev­o­lu­tion­ary ques­tion is wheth­er these ben­e­fits out­weigh the costs for in­di­vid­ual chimps; if not, it’s hard to ex­plain how such co­op­er­a­tive be­hav­ior could have evolved, Mi­tani not­ed.


TOPICS: Pets/Animals; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: godsgravesglyphs; monkeys

1 posted on 06/21/2010 6:34:13 PM PDT by Willie Green
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To: Willie Green
They do. When one sub-species goes extinct its always Bush's fault though. Hows about another 10 million in funding to verify the predetermined result?
2 posted on 06/21/2010 6:38:43 PM PDT by allmost
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To: Willie Green

Must be western chimps or hungry, unemployed chimps without health care.


3 posted on 06/21/2010 6:40:31 PM PDT by Raycpa
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To: Willie Green

4 posted on 06/21/2010 6:41:26 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet - Visualize)
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To: Willie Green

One can definitely see the same behavior at work among some so-called “human” groups...


5 posted on 06/21/2010 6:43:32 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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Comment #6 Removed by Moderator

To: Raycpa

My guess is that they’re Liberal RAT chimps.


7 posted on 06/21/2010 6:43:52 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead (Take back our country on November 2, 2010.)
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To: Willie Green

Wait! I thought man was the only species to kill each other over resources like territory or food... This cannot be!


8 posted on 06/21/2010 6:44:53 PM PDT by PugetSoundSoldier (Indignation over the Sting of Truth is the defense of the indefensible)
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To: Willie Green

Have they stopped doing the ‘survival of the fittest’ lectures in school ?? This is surprising how ?


9 posted on 06/21/2010 6:46:52 PM PDT by onona (dbada)
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To: Willie Green

If you want to study chimps for whatever reason, ok I guess. But spending 10 years observing and then making up theories that seem like they were formulated in 5 minutes tells me that most of what these people are doing is a complete waste of time. And trying to find some corollary between the chimps and human behavior is absurd.


10 posted on 06/21/2010 6:50:57 PM PDT by visualops (Proud Air Force Mom)
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To: Willie Green

““Chim­panzees kill each oth­er. They kill their neigh­bors. Up un­til now, we have not known why. “

And they call them scientists.


11 posted on 06/21/2010 6:52:32 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: Willie Green

I am reminded of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the beginning scenes two different groups of monkeys are fighting in a territorial dispute.

I find it hard to believe a ‘scientist’ never saw the movie.

Or reruns of the old TARZAN AND JANE movies (especially the b/w ones)


12 posted on 06/21/2010 7:04:17 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: visualops

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. - Proverbs 6:6


13 posted on 06/21/2010 7:04:32 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: UCANSEE2

They’re not monkeys.


14 posted on 06/21/2010 7:05:17 PM PDT by dr_lew
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To: Willie Green

Must be that “evolved morality” we keep hearing about.


15 posted on 06/21/2010 7:25:16 PM PDT by pnh102 (Regarding liberalism, always attribute to malice what you think can be explained by stupidity. - Me)
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To: Amberdawn

“chimp killers spe­cif­ic­ally seek out lone or badly out­num­bered vic­tims for an easy am­bush.”

“One can definitely see the same behavior at work among some so-called “human” groups...”

Like SEIU or Inner City Yoots.


16 posted on 06/21/2010 7:25:50 PM PDT by SwedeBoy2
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To: UCANSEE2
““Chim panzees kill each oth er. They kill their neighbors. Up un til now, we have not known why. “

I'm no scientist, but I suspect it's because they want them dead.

17 posted on 06/21/2010 7:31:27 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: Raycpa; Willie Green
Must be western chimps or hungry, unemployed chimps without health care.

Probably chimps without rail access since Willie Green is the poster!

18 posted on 06/21/2010 7:33:05 PM PDT by calex59
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To: Willie Green

I have a soft spot for most beasts, but I sure do not like chimps. I know, that has nothing to do with the thread, but I just had to say it.


19 posted on 06/21/2010 7:37:21 PM PDT by Bigg Red (Palin/Hunter 2012 -- Bolton their Secretary of State)
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To: Willie Green

Sounds like these guys haven’t studied much animal behavior at all. I mean, c’mon for pete’s sakes, look at wolves, dogs, lions, even moose, elk and deer will pack up and kill a foe, even ants.

Where have these guys been? Sounds like we wasted a lot of money sending a bunch of community agitators, rather than scientists to Uganda.


20 posted on 06/21/2010 7:54:09 PM PDT by RowdyFFC
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To: RowdyFFC
...wolves, dogs, lions, even moose, elk and deer will pack up and kill a foe, even ants.

I've never seen a moose deliberately kill an ant.

21 posted on 06/21/2010 7:58:29 PM PDT by Richard Kimball (We're all criminals. They just haven't figured out what some of us have done yet.)
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To: Willie Green

Gee, some bonehead just figured out that animals are territorial. Put two animals together in the same territory and see what happens. When we were kids, we used to put a bunch of ants from one pile onto another pile and watch the fight. Idiots. And we probably paid for the study. Kind of like a govt study to figure out why kids fall off of their tricycles. They lose their balance. Duh.


22 posted on 06/21/2010 8:06:53 PM PDT by Texas resident (Outlaw fisherman)
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To: Richard Kimball

With feet that big how could they not? :-)


23 posted on 06/21/2010 8:40:03 PM PDT by sanjoaquinvalley (Long Time Lady Lurker)
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To: dr_lew

I just like to call them that. It pisses them off.


24 posted on 06/22/2010 12:07:04 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: Richard Kimball
I've never seen a moose deliberately kill an ant.

Ever been on a picnic with moose?

25 posted on 06/22/2010 12:08:27 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (The Last Boy Scout)
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To: Richard Kimball
I've never seen a moose deliberately kill an ant.

A moose once bit my sister.

26 posted on 06/22/2010 12:10:05 PM PDT by Zack Nguyen
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To: StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 240B; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

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Gods
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Glyphs
This explains leftwing politics.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach
 

·Dogpile · Archaeologica · Mirabilis.ca · LiveScience · Biblical Archaeology Society ·
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27 posted on 06/22/2010 2:47:19 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: SunkenCiv

And they eat one another.


28 posted on 06/22/2010 2:52:06 PM PDT by wolfcreek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsd7DGqVSIc)
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To: SunkenCiv
This explains leftwing politics.

Or why Kenny has to die.


29 posted on 06/22/2010 3:03:23 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: wolfcreek

They also kill and eat bushbabies, y’know, because chimps kinda suck.


30 posted on 06/22/2010 4:19:52 PM PDT by SunkenCiv ("Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others." -- Otto von Bismarck)
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To: Willie Green

Animals killing their own kind for territory, food, or mates is very common in the animal kingdom. Very interesting article.


31 posted on 06/22/2010 7:33:51 PM PDT by GregoTX
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To: SunkenCiv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-6L_hT3QtQ


32 posted on 06/23/2010 4:31:41 AM PDT by wolfcreek (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsd7DGqVSIc)
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