The Devolution of Some Humanity and the Evolution of Others

Pan_paniscus17

The bonobo, or “hippie chimp.” Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The most common question that I am asked is whether I am anti-hunting or not. The simple answer is that yes, I am anti-hunting. At least the modern incarnation of hunting. It is obvious that at one time humans needed to hunt wild animals to survive. That argument is not in dispute. However, since the industrial revolution and the widespread availability of food and clothing, the “need” to hunt is probably nonexistent. This is not to say that I approve of the horrific nature of “factory farming” and the myriad of other ways domestic animals are exploited. I don’t and never will. The vast, vast, and vast majority of “hunters” (I prefer the term shooters) today like to pretend that they are killing wildlife to “put food on the table,” “control the population,” fund “conservation,” and an endless number of justifications for why they kill wildlife. The reality is that the vast majority of wildlife killers are killing wildlife for three main reasons: bloodlust, sport, and profit.

When modern hunters use the argument that they are killing wildlife to “put food on the table” they should explain how “rack scores,” grinning snuff photos, and hanging heads on a wall relates to food acquisition. If “putting food on the table” is their main objective why is the deer/elk/moose not measured by weight? Why is is measured by the size of the “rack,” or referred to as a “trophy?” Why do modern “hunters” make sure to have smiling photos of themselves hovering over the dead body of an animal as if they accomplished something? Do they take grinning photographs in the grocery store aisle when they acquire food to “put on the table?” Finally, if it is about “putting food on the table” why do they need to have the head preserved and then mounted on their walls as some kind of grisly “trophy?” Do they put the head of the slaughtered pig or cow that they purchased at a grocery store for their ribs or steak on a wall?

Modern “hunters” like to brag that they are keeping alive “traditions” and “heritage.” They use archaic and brutal traps to catch wildlife and later shoot, drown, or bludgeon them to death to make a few dollars for their skins. They use packs of vicious dogs to chase down all kinds of wildlife from wolves to turkeys. They use electronic calls mimicking prey species or pup distress calls to lure in unsuspecting wildlife to be ambushed and slaughtered. They use bait piles and plant “food plots” to fatten up and lure in “trophy bucks.” They use remote cameras to “scout” areas so they can lay traps for predators, or know where to ambush that “trophy buck.” This is “hunting?” This is “heritage?” This is “tradition?”

When pondering the question of how some humans can be so violent and cruel while others are peaceful and caring one only has to look at our closest relatives, the chimpanzee and bonobo. Both species are great apes and part of the same Pan genus. The common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) is a social species but also a very warlike, violent, and territorial one. The males of the species are dominant over the females, violent toward other chimp social groups, other primates, and are even know to form “war parties,” attack neighboring groups, and cannibalize the vanquished opponents and even infants of the same species. Like humans they also wage war over land.

Then we have the bonobos, or Pan paniscus. The bonobo is a very peace like member of the same chimpanzee genus. From Wikipedia (backed by sources):

Primatologist Frans de Waal states bonobos are capable of altruism, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, and sensitivity,[3] and described “bonobo society” as a “gynecocracy

Bonobos are of similar weight and body stature to common chimpanzees, yet their social structure and behaviors are completely different. Females are dominant, disputes between neighboring social groups are settled peacefully, and sex, rather than violence, solves internal and external disputes. Bonobos are often referred to as the “hippie chimp.” Both the common chimpanzee and bonobo share 98 percent similar DNA to humans and even more among each other yet both evolved to resolve conflict in different manners.

The parallels between our chimpanzee and bonobo cousins and our own societal and species evolution are staggering. Like the common chimpanzee some humans are inherently violent, territorial, and kill to prove a “point.” On the other hand many humans are like the bonobo and attempt to live a peaceful existence, express empathy toward their fellow humans and other species, and find non-violent ways to solve conflicts.

Which one did you evolve from? Which one did the brutal and sadistic fellow members of our species evolve from? Is this how you want to see a puppy?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Or is this?

Photo used via "Fair Use."

Photo used via “Fair Use.”

Which one evolved from the chimp and which the bonobo? The bottom picture shows one of the myriad of reasons why I am anti-hunting. What kind of person proudly smiles after impaling a PUPPY with an arrow and then with a straight faces calls it “conservation?”

Some of us humans are not evolving they are devolving and trying to take the rest of us down with them. Which evolutionary path will you take?

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