Actually, the two live peacefully side by side (??) But now a group of chimpanzees has shown themselves surprisingly aggressive towards the larger apes.
Researchers have observed for the first time how they attack gorillas and even killed two.
Two adult male chimpanzees in Loango National Park in Gabon.
Chimpanzees have long been considered peaceful fellows.
But at least since the 1970s we have known that they can do things differently – when Jane Goodall documented extremely brutal and bloody attacks by the great apes.
They usually go after rival conspecifics in territorial disputes.
In addition, chimpanzees prey on smaller animals, including other species of monkeys.
However, it was not previously known that they also attack other hominids.
But researchers observed two deadly attacks by chimpanzees on gorillas in 2019.
“Interactions between chimpanzees and gorillas were previously considered relaxed,” says behavioral biologist Simone Pika from the University of Osnabrück, Germany, describing the relationship between the primates in a press release:
“We have regularly observed both species peacefully in foraging trees, and our Congolese colleagues have even witnessed chimps and gorillas playing together”.
In the Loango National Park in Gabon, Africa, the monkeys lived happily side by side until the brutal attacks took place.
Since 2005, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and the University of Osnabrück have been researching the behavior of around 45 chimpanzees in relation to their social relationships, interactions with other groups, their hunting behavior, their tool use and their communication.
In the journal Scientific Reports they describe the disturbing incidents and remember the first one in February 2019:
“At first we only heard screams from the chimpanzees and thought we were observing a typical encounter between neighboring chimpanzee communities.
But then we heard chest drumming, a display behavior characteristic of gorillas, and realized that the chimpanzees had encountered a group of five gorillas.”
Silverback on chest drums.
A total of 18 chimpanzees attacked a silverback, three adult females and a baby for 52 minutes.
The second time, in December 2019, 27 chimpanzees attacked seven gorillas, including one adult male and three females, one cub and two children, for 79 minutes.
In both attacks, the gorillas tried to defend themselves and fought back. However, they had no chance against the majority of the chimpanzees.
The adult animals were able to escape, but two gorilla babies were killed, one of them even being eaten by the chimpanzees.
Only three of the attackers were injured.
How did the attacks come about?
The researchers don’t know for sure. Attacks and killings between different animal species usually occur because of hunting for prey or competition for food.
“It could be that the coexistence of chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants in Gabon’s Loango National Park has led to greatly increased competition for food, which in extreme cases erupts in deadly conflicts between the two great ape species,” explains co-study author and primatologist Tobias Deschner from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Climate change may also have contributed, as it makes food and other resources increasingly scarce.
The researchers have several possible explanations for the observed aggression.
“Interspecies kills can be interpreted as either foraging behavior or competition for food. We are only beginning to understand the impact of food competition on the interactions between the two great ape species,” says Simone Pika.
“Our study shows that there is still a great deal to explore and discover about our closest living relatives and that Loango National Park, with its unique mosaic habitat, is a unique place to do so”.
And I mean..Here the following must be said: The two species have never lived side by side peacefully because they don’t usually meet in the wild.
The human species is expanding, and its fellow animal inhabitants are left with less and less living space.
It`s about distribution struggle for increasingly scarce resources, obviously that’s man-made, man has a decisive part to play in it.
The term “murder” does not apply to killings within the animal kingdom because it comes from the human world of consciousness and animals are not capable of the complexity of categorical thinking.
They give themselves no moral and ethical account of why they do or don’t do something.
Precisely this characteristic of conscience is also part of the qualification of a homicide: whoever kills insidiously and with full calculation is a murderer.
The characteristic cannot be applied to animals. And chimpanzees belong in the animal world.
My best regards to all, Venus