Barn Burning Essay, Research Paper
To present all of the behaviors of chimpanzees in one paper is virtually
impossible. So, I am going to attempt to present only certain major behaviors such as
hunting and gathering to sharing and caring in the following paragraphs.
Hunting and Gathering
There are many interesting subtleties to the chimpanzee that the average
person does not know about. It was first believed that the chimpanzee was a vegetarian.
But, after many years of trivial research, it was clear that meat is and was a natural part
of this animal?s diet. Now, of course comes that part on how the chimpanzee gets that
meat to eat.
Although chimpanzees can and do hunt alone, they often form larger
hunting parties consisting of more than ten adult males, plus females and juveniles.
Chimpanzees also go on ?hunting binges? in which they kill a large number of monkeys
and other animals over a period of several weeks or days. The reason for this is
mysterious, but one mean is maybe to make political bonds and gain access to
One observation that has been made is the tendency of chimpanzees to
hunt in groups. Since these animals live in a fission-fusion society, where there is very
little cohesion in the group, (beyond the young and their mothers), the size of a hunting
party is related to the success of a hunt. A lone chimpanzee may only capture an animal
thirty percent of the time, whereas a party of ten or more is successful nearly very time.
however, chimpanzees do not join hunting parties expecting to increase their intake of
Looking at the social aspects of chimpanzee societies to understand their
hunting patterns comes from the observation that males for most of the hunting. Adult
and adolescent males make over ninety percent of the kills. Although females
occasionally do hunt, they often receive more of a share of meat from the male(s) who
captured the prey. The relationship between males and females is dynamic. Sometimes
a begging female does not receive any meat until the male copulates with her, even while
holding the fresh carcass. The size of the hunting party increases in proportion to the
number of estrous females present. With that comes the increased likelihood that a hunt
will occur. This suggests that male chimpanzees use meat again as a tool to gain access
to sexually receptive females. In turn, the females receive the benefits because more
shares of meat means more healthy offspring.
The distribution of the kill to other males also hints at another social role.
The male distributes the meat to his allies, but consistently withholds it from his rivals.
Such behavior reveals that meat can be used as a political tool in chimpanzee society.
Caring and Sharing
Chimpanzees have proven that they are capable of sharing food and favors
with reciprocity, remembering chains of obligation, and demonstrating sympathy.
Chimpanzee society is not merely the product of power-hungry cliques, but consists of
caring, sharing individuals who from self-policing networks.
Chimpanzees social behavior is based on reciprocity. In one of Dr. Frans
de Waal, observations made at the Arnhem zoo in the Netherlands, was of two females
who broke what was admittedly a human-imposed rule that none of the chimpanzees get
fed until all were inside the feeding enclosure. They delayed the colony?s evening meal
by two hours. But, it was the chimpanzees, not the zookeepers who punished them.
Chimpanzee society also has room for more generous feelings.
Combatants usually reconcile themselves with much kissing, hugging, and embracing.
Kissing is especially likely when combatants are trying to preserve important
relationships by reconciling after a fight. Such explicit reconciliation is also seen in
other primates, but chimps go further. Individuals not involved in the conflict may also
come to console the loser.
Another trait that chimps have been said to posses is empathy. They all
display self-awareness, or rather their ability to recognize themselves in mirrors. When
they first encounter their reflections. Chimps act very much as if they were confronting
another chimp. Many exhibit playful outbursts, but soon abandon them. It?s believed the
animals may be apprehending the connection between their actions and those of the
stranger in the mirror, they may understand that they are causing or controlling the
other?s behavior. When they finally grasp the idea between the mirror images and
themselves, they turn their attention to their own bodies, inspecting it as well as preening
In conclusion, I hope this paper has given a new insight into some of the
social behaviors, (hunting and gathering and caring and sharing), of the ever-interesting