How in times of trouble animals also stand together

How in times of trouble animals also stand together
Group of dwarf mongooses which respond to threats of rival groups with various changes in within-group behaviour. Credit: Shannon Wild

Faced with potential violence from rival factions, dwarf mongoose groupmates pull together and behave more co-operatively, according to new research by University of Bristol researchers published today.

Conflict between rival groups is common throughout the , from ants to chimpanzees, but its consequences have been little studied. Using field experiments on a wild population of dwarf mongooses, the new study, published in Behavioral Ecology, shows that the threat of conflict with outsiders can cause changes in a range of within-group behaviours.

Amy Morris-Drake, Ph.D. student and lead author from Bristol's School of Biological Sciences, said: "Much is known about the behaviour that occurs when groups of the same species actually interact with one another. However, we have shown that the threat of between-group battles can lead to increases in within-group cooperation, including greater grooming of groupmates and contributions to sentinel duty (acting as a raised guard)."

Andy Radford, Professor of Behavioural Ecology and co-author, also from Bristol, added: "Experimental tests of the consequences of out-group conflict are extremely rare, especially on wild animals. By working with groups of dwarf mongooses habituated to our close presence, we could collect detailed observations and conduct experimental manipulations in ."

Credit: University of Bristol

It is often suggested that one reason for the high levels of co-operation in is the need to stand together in times of war. This new study demonstrates the basis for a similar link in non-human animals.

Amy Morris-Drake explained: "We tested our theories by simulating territorial intrusions of . To do so, we used call playbacks and faecal presentations, creating the impression that trouble-makers had crossed the border into a group's own land."

Professor Radford continued: "We then carefully observed the behaviour of the resident group after they had interacted with the cues of rivals, and found differences compared to control conditions. Individuals groomed one another more and foraged closer together, potentially due to higher anxiety levels; their increase in sentinel behaviour was likely an attempt to gather more information about the threat."

The new work suggests that if we are to understand the importance of warfare on societies, we must consider threats as well as actual fights. Additionally, we need to investigate not just actions on the battleground but the knock-on consequences too.

Dwarf mongooses are Africa's smallest carnivore, living in co-operatively breeding, territorial groups of five to 30 individuals.


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More information: 'Experimental field evidence that out-group threats influence within-group behaviour' by Amy Morris-Drake, Charlotte Christensen, Julie M. Kern and Andrew N. Radford in Behavioral Ecology
Journal information: Behavioral Ecology

Citation: How in times of trouble animals also stand together (2019, June 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-06-animals.html
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Jun 20, 2019
Yo torbjorn

"Conflict between rival groups is common throughout the animal world, from ants to chimpanzees, but its consequences have been little studied"

-group selection among humans is called tribalism.

"There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection" (Darwin, 1871)

-Tribalism leads to a very specific dynamic: internal altruism in conjunction with external animosity... internal amity, external enmity. This is the mechanism that has domesticated us, the thing that has made us human.
Cont>

Jun 20, 2019
The main difference between humans and the other animals is chronic overpopulation, the result of technology. We systematically eliminated the natural attritive elements that had been keeping our numbers in check, starting with the animals that hunted us. The subsequent struggle over resources drove our rapid expansion across the globe. It caused humanity to congeal into tribes for protection. Humans became the principal enemy of humans.

Within us is the constant conflict over our natural instincts vs the very unnatural demands of tribal life. All domesticated animals wrestle with this dichotomy. But in humans the ever more complex requirements of conformity, in conjunction with the physiological distortions of our domestication, lead to a wide disparity in cognitive function and physical aptitude.

Our brains are too big, too fragile. Few function well and decline as we age. Our immune systems are chronically overactive. We favor superstition over evidence and logic.

Jun 20, 2019
"The new work suggests that if we are to understand the importance of warfare on societies, we must consider threats as well as actual fights. Additionally, we need to investigate not just actions on the battleground but the knock-on consequences too."

One of my favorite references for war and tribalism:

"Human Evolution and the Origin of War: a Darwinian Heritage
by J.M.G. van der Dennen; Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands"
http://rint.recht...rid2.htm

-Tribalism is obvious, it is fundamental to human behavior, and it is certainly not a new concept. It is obvious however why it has been so unpopular with an academic community far more concerned with modifying human behavior than explaining it.

You can't very well preach how evil prejudice and bigotry are while at the same time having to admit that, as an expression of the tribal dynamic, they are not only natural but genetic.

Our domestication is ongoing.

mqr
Jun 20, 2019
Tribalism is an euphemism for racism, sadism, cruelty, etc, the creation of euphemisms is a problem for the USA and the world, since they make awful things sound better.

If animals were more intelligent would build walls to separate those who suffer from the rest.

Nice to see how the BBC is making series on the attacks of the USA to central and south America governments to keep them poor. NOW, the poor want to go to the USA and the USA is acting surprised. I love how a USA philosopher comment that the main skill of the wealthy is to appear innocent, that he does not understand why people are still poor.

Jun 23, 2019
Tribalism is an euphemism for racism, sadism, cruelty, etc, the creation of euphemisms is a problem for the USA and the world, since they make awful things sound better
You have it BACKWARDS. Tribalism is the source of bigotry. Racism is a political expediency which doesn't exist in society. Consider all the animosity among the different black subgroups in the US...

"Haitians vs. Jamaicans, African-Americans vs. Everybody: Cut The Crap, We're All Black"

-No, you're not all black. You're all tribal.
Cont>

Jun 23, 2019
"I've had countless encounters with people of African descent, speaking on how "stupid," "ignorant," and "lazy" American-born blacks can be. Puerto Ricans and Dominicans are known for disliking one another (don't confuse one for the other), Liberians and Nigerians seem to be divided (one of our editors, Nigerian, said a Liberian man once called Nigerians "419 scammers" to her face)"

-In the article she goes on to ask

"All of this makes me wonder: Why do we hate each other?"

-BECAUSE there is no 'we' except when the effort is made to create that perception for entirely political purposes. Black on black crime is the worst of any category in the US and it is driven by intertribal animosity. Chronic overgrowth drives competition over resources, jobs, living space, same as anywhere else. These communities become more militant, more tribal, more gang-oriented, and begin to prey upon each other.
Cont>

Jun 23, 2019
It's certainly no different among 'whites'. The worst expression of bigotry by far was against catholic immigrants to the US.

"Anti-Catholicism reached a peak in the mid nineteenth century when Protestant leaders became alarmed by the heavy influx of Catholic immigrants from Ireland and Germany. Some believed that the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon in the Book of Revelation..."

-Again, white on white. Indigene tribalists defending their territory against tribal incursion. Euro Catholics had a strong tribal identity and expressed it freely, provoking the typical tribal response.

How easy it was to turn German against German during the 30 years war simply by declaring that the sale of indulgences was immoral. But in reality it was politicians exacerbating preexisting tribal animosities for nefarious reasons. There is not and never was a 'germany'. Before 1870 bavarians and prussians were engaged in war. Ossis hated wessis and vice versa.

TRIBALISM is the explanation.

Jun 23, 2019
BBC is making series on the attacks of the USA to central and south America governments to keep them poor. NOW, the poor want to go to the USA and the USA is acting surprised
This is all political deception and exploitation. Obviously. Why do you fall for it?
I love how a USA philosopher comment that the main skill of the wealthy is to appear innocent, that he does not understand why people are still poor
Overpopulation is the cause of poverty, not greed. The people in south and central America still live in catholic-dominated cultures which thrive on overgrowth. Children are a gift unto the lord, god will always provide for the faithful, give no thought for the morrow, children of our youth, etcetcetc.

The resulting flood of excess peoples driven north in desperation are exactly what these religions are designed to create. It's why the failing church here in the US is so eager to embrace them, just as the southern politicians are so eager to get rid of them.

Jun 23, 2019
Here's an article about bigotry among the different Hispanic groups

"When you hear your abuelito (grandpa) start talking shit about people from other Latin American countries, call it out. When you hear your tio (uncle) saying racist or homophobic shit, call it out. People always say, "oh he's old, leave it alone" or "don't start nothing, it'll ruin the fiesta," because they don't want to start any shit... I'm telling you, it's time to start some shit."

-Bigotry is a problem everywhere. 'Racism' doesn't explain it nor does it offer any solutions. The term is only used to build larger voter bases by creating common enemies where none really exist.

Tribalism however does explain it. And its easy to see why the notion of tribalism is suppressed by politicians and their academie counterparts, because it threatens to remove this potent political tool and expose the people who rely on it so much to deceive and manipulate us.

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