These examples of wars and assassinations among chimpanzees

Published by Redbran - Wednesday, May 15, 2024 - Other Languages: FR, DE, ES, PT
Source: Lice Science

Warlike behavior, often seen as a human trait, is also present among our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. This discovery, mainly from Jane Goodall's work in Tanzania, reveals that these primates share with us tendencies towards organized and deadly violence.


In the 1970s, Goodall observed a prolonged conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe National Park, which lasted four years. This conflict, marked by brutal assassinations, resulted in the victorious group taking over territory. These observations highlighted chimpanzees' ability to form complex political alliances and engage in combat over resources and hierarchical positions, much like the human motives for war.

Kibale chimpanzees in Uganda also exhibit warlike behaviors. They conduct organized patrols and have been observed committing infanticide during their raids, reminiscent of the brutality of human conflicts. These behaviors are not only confined to interactions between rival communities but also appear in internal tensions, as illustrated by the attack and murder of a former alpha male isolated in Senegal, revealing a rare but shocking cruelty.

These discoveries invite reflection on the roots of violence and war. They question our presumed moral superiority and suggest that our darkest instincts might be more deeply rooted in our evolutionary heritage than previously thought.

Studying chimpanzee behavior thus offers us a valuable window into our own nature and the possible origins of our most destructive behaviors.
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