Monkey cops keep clans together
Human societies rapidly descend into anarchy and chaos without policing. Now, researchers have found that the same thing happens when groups of monkeys are left to their own devices instead of being “policed” by dominant males.
When three of four dominant males were removed simultaneously from a captive group of 84 pigtailed macaques at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center group cohesion rapidly began to disintegrate. The researchers saw cliques forming and the breakdown of social networks and contact through communal activities like playing, grooming and sitting together. The amount of violence also escalated, with no one to broker the peace.
- “We tend to associate power with privilege, but both in human and animal society it also entails a constructive contribution, or at least ought to. Through their stabilising presence and active peacekeeping, the dominant males contribute to a more cooperative society.” – Frans de Waal.