The First Lethal Chimpanzee Attacks on Gorillas Have Been Observed by Researchers
A research team from Leipzig, Germany, has observed lethal chimp attacks on gorillas in the wild for the first time.
A study recently published in the journal Nature detailed the attacks, which resulted in gorilla deaths. Researchers will begin an investigation into the origin of the violence; however, some claim that food competition or climate change could be to blame.
According to an article published in the Max Planck Institute newsroom, researchers from Osnabrück University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology described chimp-gorilla relationships as “quite easygoing.”
Simone Pika, a cognitive biologist at Osnabrück University, said, “We have often observed both species associating happily on forage trees.” “Our Congolese colleagues even saw playful exchanges between the two primate species.”
However, the team witnessed the first known attack between the two ape species while observing a group of roughly 45 chimpanzees living in Loango National Park.
According to Lara M. Southern, the study’s first author, the attack occurred in 2019. She remembered hearing monkey screams for the first time. She and the rest of the team initially thought they were about to witness a “normal meeting” between chimps from different populations. However, another sound informed them that they were mistaken.
“We heard chest beats, a gorilla-like show, and understood the chimps had come across a group of five gorillas,” Southern explained.
The chimps “organized coalitions and assaulted the gorillas” in both attacks, which lasted 52 minutes and 79 minutes, respectively. According to Sky News, the first attack resulted in the death of one young gorilla and the injury of three chimps. One infant gorilla was killed during the second attack.
While both assaults claimed the lives of infant gorillas, the paper claims that the “eating of one victim was seen in one episode alone.”
Several explanations have been proposed by researchers to explain the deadly attacks.
“It’s possible that chimps, gorillas, and forest elephants in Loango National Park share food resources, resulting in heightened competition and, in some cases, deadly encounters between the two great ape species,” said Tobias Deschner, one of the study’s authors.
The authors also speculate that the decline in fruit availability seen in. This is a condensed version of the information.