(10AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)
Bands of chimpanzees violently kill individuals from neighboring groups in order to expand their own territory, according to a 10-year study of a chimp community in Uganda that provides the first definitive evidence for this long-suspected function of this behavior.
Admittedly, it probably does require a 10-year study to substantively indicate what we’ve known all along.
During a decade of study, the researchers witnessed 18 fatal attacks and found signs of three others perpetrated by members of a large community of about 150 chimps at Ngogo, Kibale National Park.
Then in the summer of 2009, the Ngogo chimpanzees began to use the area where two-thirds of these events occurred, expanding their territory by 22 percent. They traveled, socialized and fed on their favorite fruits in the new region.
“When they started to move into this area, it didn’t take much time to realize that they had killed a lot of other chimpanzees there,” Mitani said. “Our observations help to resolve long-standing questions about the function of lethal intergroup aggression in chimpanzees.”
Obviously, the study did not separate ultimate and proximate causes for the violence that ultimately led to the exploitation of others’ resources via extermination. Proximate causes may have included sexual jealously and paternity certainty, resource competition, or even, “Hey, we all went for a walk, and we just didn’t like the way those other chimps were looking at us.”
Natural law: Live and die by the sword, my fellow hooligans and terrorists.
Here’s where ivory tower egghead’s steeltrap mind springs shut:
[The lead author of the paper] cautions against drawing any connections to human warfare and suggests instead that the findings could speak to the origins of teamwork.
The ethological roots of “teamwork.” Friggin’ awesome, dude. Do ya think our “teamwork” in the Middle East is homologous or convergent evolution?