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In Chester, most policing occurred in moderate to severely aggressive dyadic conflicts. In Arnhem, eight out of 13 policed conflicts were severely aggressive, four of which polyadic, and the remaining five were dyadic conflicts with mild physical aggression.
Thus, the majority, but not all, of the policed conflicts involved severe aggression, but there was no consistent bias towards polyadic conflicts as found in Gossau. Finally, the degree of social instability is predicted to increase occurrence of policing.
As the degree of social instability could not be assessed quantitatively, we estimated the presence and absence of instability in the three zoos qualitatively, based on aggression frequency and patterns and inconsistency of submissive signals indicating instability of male dominance hierarchy. Policing was relatively more common in Arnhem 1 than in Arnhem 2.
Similarly, it was relatively more common in Chester 1 than in Chester 2. Finally, policing was remarkably frequent in Basel, reaching almost the same values as in Gossau. Overall, therefore, policing was most likely at times of social instability.
This further corroborates the group stability hypothesis. Discussion We explored impartial interventions, i. In the main study, we found that only adult, high-ranking males performed policing and they policed conflicts of all sex-dyad combinations.
The primary predictor of policing was conflict complexity, in that polyadic conflicts were policed more often than dyadic ones. The occurrence of policing across all sex-dyad combinations does not support the assurance of dominance hypothesis or the assurance of sexual benefits hypotheses, but is consistent with the group stability hypothesis. Moreover, the high prevalence of policing coincided with social instability in the group, i.
Thus, social relationships were unstable and easily disturbed. Policing as a group stabilizer may have prevented conflicts from escalating, thereby preventing further disruption of group stability. However, as all policing in Gossau was performed by adult males, and one of them showed a tendency to police male-male conflicts, we could not distinguish between the group stability hypothesis and the assurance of dominance hypothesis.
Therefore, we conducted a broader evaluation of the hypotheses by combining policing data from three other captive groups.
The comparative data added support for the group stability hypothesis. High-ranking individuals of both sexes performed the vast majority of policing, and they intervened in conflicts among all sex-dyad combinations.
Moreover, although policing was rare overall, policing was more likely during times of social instability. These patterns are consistent with the hypothesis of a group-stabilizing function. Available reports from wild chimpanzees give further support to this hypothesis. In both Mahale and Gombe National Parks  ,  ,  , arbitrators were high-ranking individuals of both sexes  , conflicts of all sex-dyad combinations were policed and, at least in Mahale, occurred at times of social instability.
Altogether, it appears plausible that the main function of policing in chimpanzees is to stabilize group dynamics. The data did not support the two alternatives proposing a direct fitness benefit to the interveners. Moreover, an alternative possibility to explain policing, namely that arbitrators merely dislike noisy disturbances and take action to stop them  ,  , also seems unlikely because policing is relatively rare while noisy conflicts occur frequently.
The results stressed the importance of social power in effective policing. In Gossau, arbitrators exhibited a high success rate of policing The near-absence of aggression towards arbitrators is not surprising given their high social ranks. In the other zoos too, the arbitrators were high-ranking in nearly all cases, and in the only two exceptions once in Chester and once in Arnhem they were nevertheless individuals of potential social importance.
The fact that mostly high ranking individuals engaged in policing is consistent with the theoretical models of Frank  ,  ,  and the empirical work in pigtailed macaques of Flack et al. The more powerful an individual is, the more effective it is in controlling a conflict and this at a low cost .
An interesting exception to this pattern was seen in Gossau, where the introduced females, despite being high-ranking and large-bodied, did not engage in policing. We think that this might be explained by the fact that as newcomers, they were not yet fully accepted by the others and thus did not hold the necessary social power. Another limiting factor might have been the fact these females conceived soon after the introduction and subsequently carried vulnerable infants. For the latter tactic to be effective, arbitrators need to be perceived by all combatants as being more powerful than themselves.
Similarly, various policing behaviours were seen in Arnhem and Chester. However, we could reliably extract only policing events that involved clear physical involvement. Thus, the overall prevalence may have been underestimated by excluding the passive attendance-type of interventions.
However, we think these conclusions are not affected by this possible bias, because passive interventions are likely to have been done by high-ranking individuals, as in Gossau. Policing occurs only rarely in chimpanzees, which is probably why its function has remained elusive to researchers.
We hypothesize that several preconditions are necessary for impartial interventions to occur regularly. First, conflicts that occur in a group must have the potential to endanger group stability.
This is probably not the limiting factor in chimpanzees, where intensive, polyadic conflicts occur regularly. Most biologists are proponents of natural selection. For instance, the large chests of Andean Indians enable them to absorb more oxygen from the thin air found at high altitudes. Advocates of natural selection suggest that darker skin emerged in areas of the world that get the most sunlight.
And as for differences in hair and eye color, or genitalia, natural selection has no explanatory clout. In addition to natural selection, Charles Darwin proposed the theory of sexual selection. This theory can fill in some of the gaps that natural selection leaves open. Sexual selection is simple enough in theory. Say a female has a set of physical characteristics that males find attractive.
Her offspring may then inherit some of her attractive characteristics, thus raising their chances of finding a mate and procreating. Over the course of generations, the physical traits — such as hair color, eye color and the size or shape of genitalia — that increase the likelihood of finding a mate within a given region are perpetuated, and those that diminish it are weeded out.
Nowadays, however, that logic is being turned on its head. Hunter-gatherers actually had a higher quality of life than later farmers. Studies of the few remaining hunter-gatherer populations indicate that they had plenty of leisure time and worked no harder than farmers.
Today, Kalahari bushmen only spend twelve to nineteen hours a week gathering food. How many farmers can claim to work as little as that? Additionally, archeological evidence shows that hunter-gatherers were much healthier than farming populations who lived in the same regions at a later date.
Paleontologists looked at skeletons from Greece and Turkey dated to the end of the last Ice Age. In that region, the average height of hunter-gatherers was cm. Once agriculture was adopted, though, this average dropped to just cm.
This change clearly tells a tale: these communities were less nourished than those who had lived there before.
Farming only supplanted hunting and gathering because agriculture was able to support populations larger in number. Simply put, agriculture supplies more food per capita than hunting and gathering.
Those populations that took up agriculture increased rapidly. Once they were greater in number, they were able to use that advantage to push the healthier, but fewer, hunter-gatherers to the margins. From that point on, agriculture took hold and became the primary method for supplying food.
The population boom that followed the adoption of agriculture was the reason why agricultural societies progressed further in terms of technology and culture than hunter-gatherer societies.
They simply had more people, more minds that could busy themselves with societal advances. You probably think that only perverted psychopaths resort to genocide. History shows us that genocide is no one-off phenomenon, and that each of us could potentially commit it. For starters, many instances of genocide have simply been forgotten by the vast majority of humanity. Consider, for instance, the nearly forgotten mistreatment of the native population of Tasmania by British settlers.
By , only three native Tasmanians remained.
The rest had been killed or kidnapped. In the twentieth century, there were at least 26 cases involving the genocide of racial, national, ethnic, religious or political groups. Others, like the Armenian genocide in Turkey, were much larger.
In this particular case, roughly a million people were killed between and In fact, genocide — or attempted genocide — is so common that it must be considered a part of human nature. Though we might find the idea repugnant, we are all potential participants in genocidal massacre. And those who do attempt it will always find ways to explain away their actions. Some, like the Hutu people, claim self-defense. They murdered more than , Tutsi during the Rwandan genocide.
That sort of justification is exemplified by the Indonesians who killed close to a million supposed communist sympathizers between and Comparing the victims to animals is also a recurrent justificatory gambit. French settlers in Algeria, for instance, portrayed local Muslims as rats. Ever since the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, primitive peoples have been portrayed as noble savages — as a purer kind of person living in harmony with nature.
However, we now know that human societies have always posed a threat to the environment. When European settlers arrived later, they found the bones and eggshells of the already-extinct moa. Ever since, scientists have been puzzling over just what happened. In fact, an estimated , moa skeletons lie in these field sites. The exploitation of the environment is simply part and parcel of human existence.
Consider the advanced indigenous civilization whose environment exploitation backfired on them. When Spanish explorers reached New Mexico, they found towering, uninhabited structures built in the middle of the desert.
However, the people exploited this resource for timber and firewood until it became the barren wasteland that exists today. Eventually, their irrigation water dropped below the level of their fields, and the subsequent drought led to the collapse of their civilization.