Monday, November 3, 2014

War and Peace

A group of Gelada baboons in Ethiopia.
Photo by A. Davey at Wikimedia Commons.
Syria and Iraq. Ukraine. The Gaza Strip. People are dying in large numbers at the hands of other humans, and for what? Land and resources? Is it really worth it? It is often said that humans are the only species so horrific as to kill its own species in war. But the fact is, we are not alone in what was previously thought to be a uniquely human trait. In many animal groups, individuals will band together in collective defense of territory and resources.

This week at Accumulating Glitches I talk about how group size influences the ability of primate groups to hold their territories. Check it out here.

And to learn more, check this out:

Willems, E.P. Hellriegel, B. and van Schaik, C.P. The collective action problem in primate territory economics, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 280: 20130081 (2013). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0081.

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