You know that the world’s species – animals and humans – have been created on the back of the survival of the fittest as per Charles Darwin (unless you are one of the world’s creationists in which case, I feel sorry for you).
Well, in a world where the fittest survive the best, it is no surprise to find that a study from the University of Edinburgh concluded that among the wild chimpanzee population of Gombe National Park, Tanzania, that it’s the law of the jungle as bullies are more successful.
More specifically, they found that wild male chimpanzees scale the social ladder more successfully if they have more bullying, irritable, boorish and generally unpleasant personalities. In short, the nasty types do the best in chimp society. This looks very much like human society (doesn’t it?), which is why it is fair to say that the world is in such a mess.
The dominant male human is driven by self-interest and pays little regard to society as a whole. This leads to a mess. There are obviously exceptions and the good guys push back and create some checks and balances but the underlying drift is bad. Look at Putin. The paradigm example of nasty, bullying male causing death and destruction in the world.
Jane Goodhall many years ago described the chimpanzees of Gombe National Park as having a range of characters from bold to fearful. At the time she was mocked as treating animals as humans but she was ahead of her time.
The latest study of these chimpanzees has revealed that the male chimpanzees with high dominance and low conscientiousness tendencies tend to do better in chimp society than the more retiring types.
When they studied 37 years of information on 28 male chimpanzees at this reserve, they found that the same personality traits were associated with high rank in society and reproductive success throughout their lives.
A co-author of the study, Alexander Weiss, made the remarkable statement that there is little doubt nowadays that animals have a range of personalities similar to that of humans. We are learning more about the sentience of animal daily. The emotions that they experience. Science supports these findings.
There is an evolutionary oddity in the conclusion regarding the chimpanzees. If the nasty types did best in reproduction and generally why isn’t chimp society more heavily populated with dominant, bullying male chimps? This conundrum was posed by a co-author of the study, Dr Joseph Feldblum of Duke University in North Carolina.
One theory on that is that different traits are beneficial at different times in an individual’s life. For me that needs more explaining. As does the conundrum in general.
“Fossil and genetic evidence show that human and chimpanzee DNA is approximately 96-98% identical. As a result, chimpanzees and humans share physiological, emotional, and behavioral traits.”- project r & r.