Bonobo group eats dead infant, causes media kerfuffle:
Though uncommon, the behaviour may not be aberrant, says the scientist who witnessed it.
But it does further challenge a widely perceived notion that bonobos are an especially “peaceful” ape species.
Poppycock. We’re with this guy:
However, says Dr Fowler: “I am not sure there are wider implications from a scientific point of view.”
“I don’t see that occasionally consuming dead infants, however distasteful it might seem to us, is a sign of pathology or aberration per se.”
“I don’t think it necessarily says anything about ‘empathy’ or ‘morality’,” he adds.
“It had been suggested in the past that bonobos might feel more sympathy for victims, which is why they didn’t hunt monkeys, for example.
“But we now know they do hunt monkeys. So I think eating an already dead baby says little about bonobos in that respect.
“Bonobos are often used in a symbolic way, held up as the sexy, peaceful ‘Hippy Chimps’.
“The fact that they eat monkeys and consume their own dead offspring may not accord with this view, but I personally don’t see this as a problem.”
“The idea of the ‘Hippy Chimp’ is more a metaphor than a scientific argument,” he continues.
“I think the major implication is that we don’t need to see it as an aberration among other apes.
…i.e., no one should be getting the vapors about this.