So much for the neoliberal contention that a selish Hobbesian “war of all against all” is hardwired into all primates
MediCare for all.
I think about this often. How in any kind of disaster/post-apocalyptic fiction, the notion being pushed at the viewer is that everyone’s just been itching to kill or abuse everyone else, and it’s only the police state keeping our natures “at bay”. Says much more about the person writing the story than it does about humanity’s tendencies in a crisis situation. There are terrible people in the world, but the world is not all terrible people.
In fairness to Hobbes, chimpanzees also treat medical billing, coding, and debt collection as back-office activities; so observers haven’t been able to study that part of the process yet.
Indeed. When prepper talk was hot during the start of the pandemic, I read through a lot of descriptions of people’s fortified bunkers with food, guns, etc, and often thought “isn’t a better prep to just be friends with a wide radius of neighbors?”
I think that’s the thing of it, though–you don’t have to be friends with them. Total strangers, thrust into a crisis together, tend to try and help each other survive it. All the little thoughts of debts (emotional, cultural, monetary, whatever) are out the window in the immediate moment when all lives are in danger. Empathy kicks in that some people don’t even know they have. Because in the day-to-day status quo we have this time and space to overthink and separate ourselves mentally from everyone else, but if you’re trapped in an elevator with five people you don’t know, and one of them is hurt, you don’t do the scripted television drama thing and act like leaving them to suffer is some necessary evil for everyone else’s survival. You comfort them. You try to work out how to help everybody get out safely. Not all people will react this way, sure, but I would say it’s the more common default reaction.
There are lots of studies that suggest chimpanzees are in their own version of our paleolithic age. Not a direct duplication, of course, and the odds that we will allow them to progress to a neolithic or even bronze age are pretty slim, but it is fascinating to watch, and tragic to know what assholes we are.
There is nothing too unexpected here. Chimpanzees are known to use medical plants so they have a concept of medicine, and they groom each other all the time as a way to strengthen social bonds. This is just a combination, another example that chimps are very clever.
Whether this is a case of “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” or true altruism isn’t clear from the article. Chimpanzee politics is complex as Frans de Waal has described in his books.
I hope they manage to identify the insect, it’s possible it contains useful substances. It has happened before that plants apes eat have been useful in developing new medicines.
This is just wonderful.
As a sign of our evolution, humans prefer rubbing salt in the wounds, thank you very much!
Something something welcome our compassionate chimp overlords.
Well, she’s his mother so even if it’s a teenager she could care for him because it’s her child. I would love to see if this caring behavior extends to the rest of the tribe/extended family and strangers to the tribe. Pretty sure that yeah, but confirmation would be amazing.
While not the case for all insects, I know some ant species grow antibiotic bacteria on their carapace and treat wounds on others by rubbing the wound. This is to say that humans are far from the only animals that treat wounds, and its possible the chimps might be taking advantage of similar insect antibiotics for treating their own wounds
Shouldn’t they verify that? Otherwise there might be a different interpretation of the event.
Kindness doesn’t come out of thin air. It’s an artifact of our biology, not a product of our so-called morality.
That a mother would help her child is obvious, but from the article:
“And on two other occasions they observed injured chimpanzees being treated in the same way by one or several fellow apes.”
They haven’t been able to identified what insect is involved yet, so it’s a bit tricky.
Not all against all, but they are pretty much into the some against some: Murder 'comes naturally' to chimpanzees - BBC News
What about that bear in the Budapest Zoo that saved a crow from drowning in his pond? He gently plucked the bird from the water and set it on the ground, then went back to his meal of fruit and vegetables. The crow stares at the bear as if it can’t believe what just happened, and probably doesn’t. I got the same look from a bluejay that I rescued from being tangled in a shrubbery netting. There is a video of the bear on Youtube. If that does not demonstrate human levels of sympathy I do not know what can.
But that would be true, not just of kindness but things like theft, war, deceit and tribalism wouldn’t it?
If you don’t have morality, all you’ve got is “different stuff our forebears did to keep passing on their genes”.
Very true. I like to think there is free will and that I am responsible for my actions. Just saying “I like to think” is a declaration of free will, and that there is randomness in the universe. It is not a clockwork of predetermination. That thought terrifies and depresses me.