Blog 4-Primates

The video “The New Chimpanzee” and the article “What is War Good for? Ask a Chimpanzee” were both interesting to me. What intrigued me about them was that they both talked about violence among chimpanzees. Not only is violence a part of their culture but also their social behaviors mirror our own. The fact these prime apes have soon much in common with us not only at the DNA level but also in their social behaviors is mind blowing. It is clear we shared a common ancestor in the past to have these similarities today. In the video it mentioned that there are two types of chimps. There is the more aggressive and male oriented chimpanzees that are more commonly recognized. Then you have the more peaceful and female oriented bonobos. They are the same species yet they display very different characteristics and some social behaviors are different as well. This difference among the two made me think of the differences among our own species. Today in modern humans we also display these behavioral differences. There are some of us that display more aggression and tend to be more violent. While there are some of us that are more peaceful and less violent. I believe that this could have come from the common ancestor we shared with chimps. The ancestor I believe had the capability of displaying aggression and violence yet at the same time they were peaceful. From this I believe not only did we inherit these characteristics but so did the chimpanzees and bonobos.       

                I also found it interesting how with the bonobos females were at the head of groups. Making and sustaining these relationships with the females of the group was key in their groups. While with the chimpanzees it is a male oriented and through violence that you get to go up in ranking. I wonder if these differences in gender rule has an effect on the behavior and the level of aggression that each displays. Some may argue that males and male oriented groups are more violent due to the fact that males are more violent. However is that really true or is there something more that can explain why the bonobos and chimpanzees are so different behaviorally?

                I believe that by studying non-human primates we can learn a lot about our own selves. Through them we will be able to better understand how we came to be the way we are today. They provide a window into our past. Through studies we can see just how much our biology had to change in order to get where we are. We may also be able to see how much or very little things such as behavior and culture has changed. We might not get an exact answer but we may get an idea as to why and how both the species have progressed in the manner they have. After all we were once related and shared a common ancestor that still shows to this day our close relation to them.

One thought on “Blog 4-Primates

  1. I agree with your thoughts by studying the primates violent behaviors we can better understand humans. I noticed humans share this violent tendency just like primates. In the primate environment they use aggressive behaviors to ward off competitors, territory, or mating with or without the intention of causing serious injury or death. The violent behavior of primates are generally male which is the same in human society. The larger the human male population, especially younger males, was a huge contributor to human on human violence in the world. Humans, unlike primates, can plan out and reflect more on violent deeds they have done, they can choose either to repress violent tendencies or embrace them. Primates (Chimps)do not have the brain aptitude to do this, they will kill and eat any infant or stray male, and grab any female.

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