Baboon ruling class dies. Peace results.

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ultraviolet's picture
Joined: 14-04-11
May 22 2013 22:54
Baboon ruling class dies. Peace results.

In baboon society, the dominant males are the approximate equivalent of our ruling class. Look what can happen when they disappear...

Baboon ruling class dies. Peace results.

No Time for Bullies: Baboons Retool Their Culture
New York Times, April 13, 2004

Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of tuberculosis 20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and most despotic males, setting the stage for a social and behavioral transformation unlike any seen in this notoriously truculent primate.

... The victims were all dominant adult males that had been strong and snarly enough to fight with a neighboring baboon troop over the spoils at a tourist lodge garbage dump, and were exposed there to meat tainted with bovine tuberculosis, which soon killed them. ... With that change in demographics came a cultural swing toward pacifism, a relaxing of the usually parlous baboon hierarchy, and a willingness to use affection and mutual grooming rather than threats, swipes and bites to foster a patriotic spirit.

Remarkably, the Forest Troop has maintained its genial style over two decades, even though the male survivors of the epidemic have since died or disappeared...