Chimpanzees Have Police Officers, Too

Chimpanzee a2Via ScienceDaily:

Chimpanzees are interested in social cohesion and have various strategies to guarantee the stability of their group. Anthropologists now reveal that chimpanzees mediate conflicts between other group members, not for their own direct benefit, but rather to preserve the peace within the group. Their impartial intervention in a conflict — so-called “policing” — can be regarded as an early evolutionary form of moral behavior.

Conflicts are inevitable wherever there is cohabitation. This is no different with our closest relatives, the chimpanzees. Sound conflict management is crucial for group cohesion. Individuals in chimpanzee communities also ensure that there is peace and order in their group. This form of conflict management is called “policing” — the impartial intervention of a third party in a conflict. Until now, this morally motivated behavior in chimpanzees was only ever documented anecdotally.

However, primatologists from the University of Zurich can now confirm that chimpanzees intervene impartially in a conflict to guarantee the stability of their group. They therefore exhibit prosocial behavior based on an interest in community concern.

The more parties to a conflict there are, the more policing there is

The willingness of the arbitrators to intervene impartially is greatest if several quarrelers are involved in a dispute as such conflicts particularly jeopardize group peace. The researchers observed and compared the behavior of four different captive chimpanzee groups…

[continues at ScienceDaily]

8 Comments on "Chimpanzees Have Police Officers, Too"

  1. Tchoutoye | Mar 9, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    Do they plant evidence or take bribes?

  2. Liam_McGonagle | Mar 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm |

    Okay.  Humans need police.  And chimpanzees need police.  Fair enough.

    But do you Humans really need chimpanzee police?

  3. Jin The Ninja | Mar 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm |

    “intervene impartially in a conflict to guarantee the stability of their
    group. They therefore exhibit prosocial behavior based on an interest
    in community concern.”

    ‘police’ in a human sense, do no such thing.

  4. DeepCough | Mar 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm |

    “Ape shall not kill Ape!”

Comments are closed.