War among chimpanzees:
War is not confined to humans.  I understand that different ant colonies have wars.  That probably does not reveal a lot about humans.  But our nearest biological cousins are chimpanzees.  Alas, they do have wars.  The way it was described to me was that when a troop exceeds a certain size, some of the members of the group become shunned and are then treated with increasing hostility until they are driven out of the troop altogether.  It does not end there.  The exiles form their own troop and begin going about their own business, but the original troop will not let them be.  They begin to make raids.  These raids are deadly.  And they are vindictive.  I have read of a case in which the attackers killed an outside chimpanzee, partly ate it and then left it on a trail where the others were sure to find it.  It sounds positively human.  Generally the beleaguered troop gets wiped out.

The violence is not one sided.  Woe betide a couple of chimpanzees in pursuit of a potential victim which leads them into the main body of the other side. 

The intensity of the violence has been likened to that among humans in the least developed and most violent regions.  That is not to say that our behavior is instinctive.  There is a kind of chimpanzee that used to be called a pygmy chimpanzee but now is called the Bonobo.  They are thought to be as related to us as the common chimpanzee.  Bonobos are not violent with each other.  They are lovers not fighters.  Gorillas are not completely passive, but they do not engage in the kind of warfare that chimpanzees conduct. 

One thing this warfare does is limit the gene pool size.  Other animals of course have different ways of accomplishing the same thing.  It seems odd to me that common chimpanzees and humans have come up with the same strategy.  Reproduction is so important that almost any cost can be born if it means reproduction will happen, but our vastly more sophisticated social skills ought to make it easy for us to come up with a less costly way of managing.  It does not look like it is going to be easy.  The reactions I get are about ninety percent indifference and nine percent outright hostility.  The other one percent is mostly undecided.  But that is not necessarily a problem.  One percent might be enough to assure our survival and with sufficient effort to maintain the treasures of our civilization. 

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