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in the first hour of the afternoon of a certain day in 1974 a group of eight raiders from the clan of Kasekala is entered, without being seen, at the border dividing the territory Kahama. Their mission were to provide a murder.

did Not take long to surprise you —while eating alone on the branches of a tree— a Godi, a sympathetic character, playful and very loved in their environment.

You ambushed and surprised with their numerical advantage. Immediately afterwards rushed on him, held him up, beat him viciously, and torn apart his body at last, to finally stone him .

The meeting lasted barely five minutes, but it was enough for Godi was sentenced to death. A few hours after, he died between terrible pains.

This scene was led by primates… But not humans (Homo sapiens), but chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).

The War of Gombe

The event took place on the east coast of lake Tanganyika (Tanzania), where is located the National Park of Gombe. It now represents the smallest national park in the country –only thirty-five square kilometres– but in 1960, when he got there a very young Jane Goodall , was a Reserve belonging to the British Protectorate of Tanganyika.

The English traveled to this location african with the intention of studying the behavior of chimpanzees, in a way that would help the scientific community to better understand human evolution.

The murder of Godi, as if the very archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is concerned, marked the start of a ruthless war between the two clans that lasted for four long years.

It sparked a wave of assassinations and violence between the two clans as never more to be re-registered. Unpredictably came to a point in the fights that were drawing apart, little by little, the hatred turned to forgiveness and, at the end, came the oblivion.

The ultimate result was that the group Kasakela –studied by Goodall– annihilated members of the Kahama , with the exception of a few female teenagers who were forced to join the victors.

In short, the chimpanzees of the clan Kasakela were left with more territory and with more females, in short, with greater ability to reproduce and perpetuate their genes.

Agonism intense versus war

One of the conclusions that came Goodall was that chimpanzees and humans we share a genetic predisposition to violence , vehiculizada by a need to possess and dominate.

The violence is a behavior evolutionarily successful that we have inherited from a common ancestor that was living about seven million and a half years. The expression of the gene ADRA2C active the typical response to conflict: fight or flee.

Now the biologists point out that there are two factors that favour this type of behaviour: the resources, including the females, and the expansion of territory. The slaughter of animals of the same species is due to a long-term strategy to dominate neighboring groups.

Now, can we talk about a “war” of animals? Scientists do not agree on the nuances of language, what is more, most prefer to use a neologism: agonism intense towards other colonies . They argue that the terminology of war should be reserved for conflicts between Homo sapiens.

By the way, the archaeological evidence points out that the first war between humans took place in Nubia over 12,000 years ago… since then we have not known the truce.

M. Jara

Pedro Gargantilla is a internist in the Hospital of El Escorial (Madrid), and author of several popular books.

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