Thursday, January 06, 2005

Darwinian extension left as an exercise to the reader

The Canadian journalist Gwynne Dyer, in an upcoming revised edition of his landmark 1985 book, "War," tells a story about the Forest Troop of baboons in Kenya.

The aggressive, macho males of the baboon troop routinely raided the garbage dump of a nearby tourist lodge to forage food. The mellower, less aggressive males did not.

About 20 years ago, the macho baboons all ate infected meat from the dump and died. The mellow baboons, who were always bullied by the machos, did not. The whole culture of the troop changed after that.

Freed from having to constantly deal with the aggressiveness of the machos, the survivors relaxed and began treating each other better. There were fewer fights and more friendly social behavior. The behavioral change held over the years, and the troop today remains less belligerent and more cooperative compared to others.


Post a Comment

<< Home

see web stats