3 thoughts on “Video: What can we learn from baboons?

  1. Steve Zerger

    I don’t follow his reasoning, and his conclusions don’t seem justified. Shouldn’t the alpha-males have been the least vulnerable to the disease if they were the strongest and least stressed? He suggests they were more vulnerable because they were isolated socially but doesn’t offer any explanation for why that should be the case. Perhaps they were more prone to depression? It’s a nice story and I like the conclusion, but as far as the science goes it seems compromised by too little evidence and too much wishful thinking. Too small a sample with too much random noise in it.

  2. Steve Zerger

    Then again, maybe the main point is not who died but the transformation made possible by the die-off. The “selection” which occurred might have involved a factor correlated with aggressiveness, or it may have just been the randomness found in a small sample. Perhaps the aggressive males didn’t stoop to foraging human garbage as much, or perhaps they got the “choice” garbage, who knows.

    Maybe the conclusion goes something like this: When environmental factors converge to cause a sudden significant reduction in population density, overall stress in the surviving population is likely to decrease, and this will more likely be the case if the characteristics of the surviving population are fortuitous.

    Hierarchy is related to density and is hierarchy focuses and intensifies violence – which goes back to your previous post on whether war is “natural”.

  3. Steve Zerger

    Yes, I think my plodding mind is narrowing in on the moral. Aggressive exploitation and appropriation of resources is a successful adaptation up to a point. But beware, it can work against you to be too successful, and it will work against you eventually – “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it”…

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