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Gorillas form lifelong bonds with other apes that help neighboring groups keep the peace

The observations showed that the male gorillas often got into fights with others to protect members of their groups. But, when in contact with former group members that had moved on to other communities, hostility between the males dropped.

CHEYENNE MACDONALD: ‘A new study on African mountain gorillas has found that their lives are very much influenced by the lifelong bonds they form with other members of the group – much like human social interaction… In the study, published to the journal Animal Behaviour, researchers from the University of Western Australia observed 10 groups of mountain gorillas in Rwanda over the course of a year… the researchers found bonds between gorillas – including between former group members – were critical in keeping the peace.

‘What’s interesting is people often have the perception that gorilla behaviour is very much influenced by competition for females or over a food source, but there’s also a good proportion of behaviour that is peaceful as a result of long-lasting social relationships,’ says lead researcher Dr. Melanie Mirville. The observations showed that the male gorillas often got into fights with others to protect members of their groups.

But, when in contact with former group members that had moved on to other communities, hostility between the males dropped. Sometimes, the researchers say they could even be seen playing and grooming each other. In many ways, their interactions paralleled some of those in our own daily lives. ‘As humans we are friendlier if we bump into someone we know in comparison to people we don’t know or trust,’ Mirville said’. SOURCE…

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