If bullying is so rewarding, why isn’t it for everyone?

Making your way among friends, bullying colleagues, or even getting angry, science confirms once again that annoying behavior is rewarded. And not only in humans, but also in chimpanzees.

A study suggests that male chimpanzees who bully others, are greedy and quick-tempered, move up the chimpanzee social ladder and are more successful in producing brazen young monkeys than their humble and conscientious peers. New search. But if that’s the case, then the British and American researchers are asking, why aren’t all chimpanzees bullied?

special character
They tracked down 28 males in Gombe National Park in Tanzania. Previous research has shown that some chimpanzees are more social and others are more solitary. Some are simple while others frequently pick fights. In short: Every chimpanzee has its own personality, concluded the researchers, who have observed the animals almost daily for years.

The new study found another interesting (yet disturbing) fact: male chimpanzees that are dominant and unconscious, fare better in life. “They generally have higher dominance scores,” said researcher Joseph Feldblom. Duke University locked works Saintias. “This is important because we have previously shown that males who reach the highest rank produce a disproportionate number of offspring. As we write in the study, male chimpanzees competing for access to females for mating and dominance are an important means of reproductive success. Second, we also found that males with high dominance (but not Those with low conscientiousness) were more likely to have offspring. All this was after taking into account other possible factors.” So Feldblom’s conclusion is: “Character matters.”

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Frodo has been the alpha male of Gombe for five years and is known as a real bully. Photo: Ian C. Gilbey, Arizona State University.

evolutionary puzzle
You might not find it surprising that bullying has such advantages in life, but it does lead to an interesting question: If males with certain traits are more likely to reach the top and reproduce—and thus pass their genes on to their offspring—why doesn’t every male become one? In other words, why are there differences in characters at all? “It’s an evolutionary puzzle,” Feldblom explains.

One theory is that different personality traits are beneficial at different times in life. Perhaps aggressive behavior is good for young males, but older chimpanzees benefit from a little friendliness. Think of some qualities that are very useful in high school, for example, but not at work later. “It’s a compromise,” explains researcher Alexander Weiss.

Dominance paid off
The research team decided to test this hypothesis using 37 years of data going back to Jane Goodall’s early work in Gombe in the 1970s. Higher rank and greater reproductive success.

So there must be another explanation. The ideal personality may depend on the environment the chimpanzee finds itself in or on social factors. Also, some traits may be beneficial to males, but not to females. If that were the case, the genes related to these traits would continue to circulate through the population.

cold character
It may seem perfectly normal to talk about a chimpanzee’s personality, but not so long ago it was taboo. Jane Goodall herself was accused of anthropomorphism when she described some Gombe chimpanzees as being tougher or more fearful than others and some more loving or colder in character.

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But a lot has changed since then: Scientists have been able to discern different characters in all kinds of animals, from birds to squid. It turns out that these traits remained the same in different situations and for long periods of time. Weiss says that personalities are as consistent in animals as they are in humans. “The data belies the doubts.”

Monkey watching daily
However, there is still much to investigate. Very excited about the research, says Feldblom. “It is fascinating that personality traits can be classified in this way and say something about the social dynamics of Gombe chimpanzees. This is only possible because the local Tanzanian researchers have an intimate relationship with chimpanzees, which was possible because they have been observing the population daily for decades. Our research would be impossible without their work.” “.

Winton Frazier

 "Amateur web lover. Incurable travel nerd. Beer evangelist. Thinker. Internet expert. Explorer. Gamer."

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