Gorilla Warfare


I do not understand the human race.

It has so little love for creatures with a different face.
Treating animals like people is no madness or disgrace.
I do not understand the human race.

I wonder —
Why do we treat animals like animals?
Animals treat us so very well.
The devoted ways they serve us
And protect us when we’re nervous,
Oh, they really don’t deserve us,
All we give them is hell!

They give each other hell, too. Here’s the headline from New Scientist: “Chimps beat up, murder and then cannibalise their former tyrant”.

Did they say murder? Aye, they did. An impossibility, as we saw last week. One non-human ending the life of another non-human can never be murder (where by non-human, I mean non-rational-animal). But never mind. Let them have their word.

The murder victim, a West African chimpanzee called Foudouko, had been beaten with rocks and sticks, stomped on and then cannibalised by his own community.

This is one of just nine known cases where a group of chimpanzees has killed one of their own adult males, as opposed to killing a member of a neighbouring tribe.

These intragroup killings are rare, but Michael Wilson at the University of Minnesota says they are a valuable insight into chimp behaviour such as male coalition building.

They’re also an insight into the dietary habits of these hairy, intemperate beasts. The rarity of these beat-downs is another matter, and we can’t help but wonder if the number of incidents is greater than Wilson imagines—or desires.

When will we stop treating them like animals?
Is the human race entirely mad?
Women see a baby goatskin
Or a lambskin or a stoatskin
And to them it’s just a coatskin —
Oh, it’s terribly sad!

When you dress in suede or leather,
Or some fancy fur or feather,
Do you stop and wonder whether,
For a fad,
You have killed some beast or other,
And you’re wearing someone’s brother,
Or perhaps it’s someone’s mother
In which you’re clad?

The New Scientist article quotes one Pruetz, who said, “The female that cannibalised the body the most, she’s the mother of the top two high-ranking males. Her sons were the only ones that really didn’t attack the body aggressively”. Pruetz doesn’t say if this female took (non-digestive) souvenirs or trophies, but given we don’t see many bead-wearing chimps, it’s not likely.

That man should emulate animals is a tacit notion most of the time, but some come right out like the song and lament mankind’s distance from our mute neighbors. Last year we discovered an intellectual who thought it well prostitution should be legalized in men because it occurred in beasts; or rather, some beasts are sometimes found to leave a tokens after engaging in sexual intercourse. Thus prostitution is not immoral.

But then since chimps beat and eat their leaders, it should be allowable for men to do the same. Students at Berkeley may use this as an argument as they descend upon Washington DC with their knifes—and forks!—out for President Trump. Who are we to judge?

Have you seen what some female spiders and the praying mantis do to their former mates? It’s a price for sexual access more than many human males are willing to pay. Still, since the practice is common in the animal kingdom, there isn’t any use prosecuting prostitutes who kill and eat their customers.

Females behave badly everywhere. Just as we were assured by this Wilson above that apes making war is rare, here is another article from the same source: “First case of lethal female aggression seen in orangutans“. “It was a deadly rumble in the jungle. A female orangutan was attacked and killed by another female and a male — the first time lethal aggression has been seen between females of the species.”

That it is it the first case seen we can accept, but that is far from proof it is the first case period.

It’s unclear why Kondor showed such unusually aggressive behaviour. Female orangutans don’t defend their territory and the researchers saw no sign of any provocation. “We think the presence of the male had a lot to do with the fact that she was brave enough to attack and then was so persistent,” says Marzec.

Seems to work the opposite in men. When males are around females are less spirited; but when the cat’s away—well, you get the idea.

Note: Yes, I know it is guerrilla warfare, but this being the Internet the sense of humor of a good number of surfers is less than can be desired, and so this pathetic explanation of the joke.


  1. Bruce G Charlton

    Interesting reflections.

    Intragroup killngs are actually extremely common – as a proportion – if nine cases have been noted among the small number of chimps sufficiently closely studied for just the past three chimp-generations.

    Orangs are so difficult to study in the wild (because they live spead out in dense jungle, and can move faster than humans) that very little is known about them – it would therefore be reasonable to assume that something seen once is unlikely to be unique.

    Of course the male chimps and orangs are obviously much larger and stronger than the females – but then, if you subtract subcutaneous fat, the sitation is almost identical for humans:


  2. Michael Dowd

    Now we understand what “going ape” is all about.

  3. Sheri

    “When will we stop treating them like animals?
    Is the human race entirely mad?
    Women see a baby goatskin
    Or a lambskin or a stoatskin
    And to them it’s just a coatskin —”

    Because IT IS JUST A COATSKIN. Now, excuse me, I have to go shoot some fuzzy Thumpers to put in my freezer. Have a nice day.

  4. Ya’ know, Sheri, you remind me of the often inverse relationship of religiosity and morality.


  5. Kip Hansen

    Commander Briggs ==> The greater issue is spiritual as you well know. The higher question:

    What is the spiritual difference, if any, between the spirit(s) that animate humans and the spirit(s) that animate animals and plants?

    There is, of course, no question that spiritual laws forbid intentional cruelty to animals (of all kinds) and the unnecessary, wanton slaughter of animals without purpose or merely for sport. The use of animals for food and raiment is part-and-parcel of mortality — and the same is true in the rest of Nature.

    If one holds, as I do, that there is an important difference between the spirit of Man and the spirit(s) of animals, then we must never make the mistake of excusing Mankind’s actions “because animals do it too”. The worst of human behavior is characterized as “beastly” for just this reason.

    Mankind has the exalted option of knowing the Right from the Wrong, the Good form the Evil, and choosing Right and Good, just because they are Right and Good.

  6. Jim Fedako

    JMJ —

    Are you implying that meat eating has a moral context? Really?

  7. dodgy geezer

    …I do not understand the human race….

    I wish I loved the Human Race;
    I wish I loved its silly face;
    I wish I liked the way it walks;
    I wish I liked the way it talks;
    And when I’m introduced to one
    I wish I thought What Jolly Fun!

    “Wishes of an Elderly Man, Wished at a Garden Party, June 1914”: Sir W Raleigh (the 1861-1922 one, not the Elizabethan one)

  8. Vy

    I’ve always wondered how straight-faced inverse PeTAists (?) are when they say we should do something because animals do it.

  9. Joy

    Very Transparent.

  10. Joy

    Joke curtesy of my brother just now: (delete if considered too rude but it made me laugh.)
    “I went to the zoo the other day, Init wasn’t very good, it only had one dog!
    it was a shitzu.”

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