I always am surprised by how violent non-human primates can be although I had already heard most of the facts presented in the videos and links. I am especially stunned with the numerous instances of infanticide and killing of groups within the same species. When thought about, however, it does make sense why primates tend to kill either babies or adults within different groups. It also sheds a light on why humans tend to be very violent sometimes as well.
I was especially surprised reading the “What is War Good for?” article. I could not believe the kind of seemingly senseless violence that these chimpanzees were taking a part in just because of territory disputes. I was also surprised when the article mentioned that spider monkeys had repeatedly assaulted female members of other communities of spider monkeys. The article also looked at the difference between chimpanzees and Bonobos apes, which the lectures detailed as well. It is incredibly surprising to me how different the Bonobos apes will interact with each other compared to other species of primates. However, when hearing examples of this kind of territorialism, it does not surprise me that humans also tend to take territory very seriously. I was also incredibly surprised that non-human primates actually have full “wars” that last years, where one group is attacking another group. Again, this makes sense as to why humans declare wars on each other for things like food, territory and even mates.
I thought “The New Chimpanzees” video was also very interesting. The narrator mentions how chimpanzees used tools, just as humans do. In the beginning of the video, the narrator also mentions these tools are passed on from mother to child, as part of their “culture”. I find this also makes sense in terms of human “culture”, because we also pass on our uses of tools from parent to child, or from community to child. This means that a lot of times culture is not inherently known, but instead learned from the elder people in a group, which is what we also see with human communities. The most surprising thing I learned from the video was that a scientist may have discovered chimps using a type of primitive like medicine! That kind of brain development in non-human primates seems crazy to me, but also logical. If humans have developed medicine, why wouldn’t chimps be able to as well? I wonder, then, as chimpanzees and other non-human primates develop, what other kinds of evolutionary development and thinking will the species show? Will their evolution mirror the evolution of humans in terms of the development of more intricate tools, better medicine and then differences in cultures between species or even between groups of the same species?
Watching primates, in the media and especially in zoos, is pretty incredible. It is fascinating to see how similar they are to humans, in how they interact with each other and the types of tools they use. I think it is essential to keep studying non-human primates to learn more about human behavior because non-human primates are the key to knowing more about our earliest ancestors.