Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chimps Kill Neighbors To Gain New Territory

chimp attackGangs of chimpanzees carry out violent attacks on individuals from rival groups in order to secure more resources or mates, a 10-year study in Uganda has found.

During that time scientists recorded 18 attacks and found signs of three others carried out by a large, male-dominated community of chimpanzees at Ngogo in Kibale National Park.

In summer last year, the aggressor chimpanzees finally began to occupy the area where two-thirds of their attacks had occurred, expanding their territory by more than a fifth.

According to the scientists, led by John Mitani, a primate behavioural ecologist at the University of Michigan, the chimps then travelled, socialised and ate in the new territory.

"When they started to move into this area, it didn't take much time to realise that they had killed a lot of other chimpanzees there," said Mitani. "Our observations help to resolve long-standing questions about the function of lethal intergroup aggression in chimpanzees."

Full story here.

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