I have mentioned in several topics there are similar social behaviors among humans, bonobos, and chimpanzees.
In their taxonomy all 3 are in the same categories:
Below that level:
Genus:Homo includes several extinct species other than sapiens
Species: Sapiens humans
With this observation one might conclude some similar social behaviors might be rooted in genetics.
Here is an observation about chimpanzee grooming:
Grooming, the act of tidying, cleaning, or brushing oneself or another, occurs in both chimpanzees and humans. In fact, grooming is seen in all primates, though it is performed differently within each species. Chimpanzees grooming involves removing pieces of dirt, plants, dried skin, and insects from the hair of another chimpanzee of off of themselves. Our own human grooming may involve showering or bathing, cutting or styling our hair, getting a manicure or pedicure, cleaning your ears, or maybe even an exfoliating massage.
Even though there are differences in the way we groom they still achieve the same purpose of cleanliness as well as relaxation and even bonding. Think of time when you picked a piece of fuzz or other small particle from your own or someone else's clothes or hair or how relaxing it is to have someone rub your back. This is just like what chimpanzees do!
Here is an observation about bonobo grooming:
Other interesting behaviors seen in bonobos include cultural differences in play and grooming among captive bonobos. Local variations of behavior in captive settings can be thought of as cultural differences; they are not seen in every captive population and new individuals introduced to groups that practice these diverse behaviors learn them and practice them. For example, at the San Diego Zoo, during grooming sessions between two animals, the bonobo that is grooming stops grooming at regular intervals and claps his or her hands, feet, or hand and foot together making an audible clapping noise. This behavior is the only place in the world where bonobos clap while grooming, and new individuals introduced to the group learn this behavior (de Waal 2001). Another behavior seen only among the San Diego bonobos are play behaviors such as "blind man's bluff" and "funny faces," two games played by the young bonobos of the group. In "blind man's bluff," a juvenile places an arm over his face or covers his eyes in some way and proceeds to walk along the play structures within the enclosure, often losing his balance or bumping into obstacles. This is a solitary game to begin with, but once a juvenile begins to play, other young bonobos in the group will begin to play (de Waal 2001). Finally, another cultural behavior seen among captive bonobos is a game called "funny faces" in which a solitary young bonobo makes faces for no obvious reason and which are directed at no member of the group (de Waal 2001). These behaviors are seen nowhere outside of the San Diego group of bonobos.
Here is an observation about meerkat grooming:
Meerkats don't live alone. They are social, diurnal (active during the day) animals who live in gangs of about two to 50. They spend their days foraging for food, caring for their young and guarding their territory. And let's not forget grooming and napping. Meerkats brush and clean each other's fur with their claws and teeth -- and they've even figured out that their claws are a good substitute for floss. In the hot midday desert sun, meerkats are known to nap in the shade or in their dens, usually piled on top of one another.
The rulers of the group are the alpha male and alpha female, and every meerkat gang has a similar power couple.
I find these comparisons very interesting in two ways:
1) the meerkat is not a primate; it is in the mongoose family (Herpestidae).
The meerkat or suricate is a small carnivoran belonging to the mongoose family . It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members. In captivity, meerkats have an average life span of 12–14 years, and about half this in the wild.
The ruler of a bonobo group is an alpha female while the the ruler of a chimpanzee group is an alpha male.
Human groups tend to be dominated by an alpha male but certainly not always.
Here is an observation about communication between crows:
Crows are extremely intelligent birds. They are known for their problem-solving skills and amazing communication skills. For example, when a crow encounters a mean human, it will teach other crows how to identify the human. In fact, research shows that crows don’t forget a face.
Many types of crows are solitary, but they will often forage in groups. Others stay in large groups. A group of crows is called a murder. When one crow dies, the murder will surround the deceased. This funeral isn’t just to mourn the dead, though. The crows gather together to find out what killed their member. Then, the murder of crows will band together and chase predators in a behavior called mobbing.
This observation is very interesting because a crow is a bird, definitely not a primate.
Here is an observation about wasps:
More than a decade ago, scientists demonstrated for the first time that insects are capable of facial recognition, after it was discovered that golden paper wasps are able to recognize other members of the same species based on their facial markings. Although it’s now known that several wasp species possess this ability, it turns out that one little wasp uses it as a way of determining friend from foe, alongside giving them a good old sniff, in order to protect against invasion.
The Malaysian hover wasp, is a social species found in tropical forests of South East Asia. Although individual nests built by this species tend to be quite small, they are often found in huge clusters consisting of up to 150 nests built in close proximity. This means that colonies are constantly faced with the threat of invasion from outsiders, who could sneak in to steal resources or even lay eggs.
In order to prevent this from happening, the wasps use two different strategies to discern colony members from alien intruders: facial recognition, or visual cues, and scent, or olfactory cues. Individuals from a particular colony will bear a certain chemical signal, or hydrocarbon profile, on their cuticle which can be used to identify members of their own species, colony and gender. Furthermore, each female also possesses a unique facial pattern.
When both cues were available, the wasps tended to ignore odor in favor of facial recognition, immediately attacking any wasp with an unfamiliar face. According to the researchers, this strategy is likely the safest since the wasps can judge the face of another wasp at a distance, but detecting scent requires them to be in close proximity to one another.
This observation is very interesting because an insect uses facial recognition to initiate an attack.
My initial conclusion is social behaviors cannot be driven only by genetics at the species level.
The genetics is the primary driver for overall physical characteristics. That must be the case simply because that is how the taxonomy for a species is defined.The body defines the requirements for the animal's physical environment. The animal adapts its behaviors to suit its environment. If the environment changes and no alternative habitat can be found to adapt to the animal will go extinct. Nearly all observed extinctions occur on an island for that reason.
From ants to birds to chimpanzees to zebras each animal will find a suitable environment and adapt to it. Ants are very tiny so they require a large group for foraging, for defense, and for building a big home. Dolphins use their sound communication ability to hunt/attack as a coordinated group with a result similar to that for pack animals on land.
Cats are very efficient solitary predators. The animals the cats prey on must either adapt defense mechanisms or reproduce in numbers faster than be killed or their numbers will be gone. However nature can find a balance because as the prey disappears the predator will starve reducing its number allowing the prey's numbers to recover.
Life on this planet is much more complicated than just down to species,
An individual inherits characteristics by generation.
There is one species for a pet cat and one for a pet dog. There is a multitude of breeds for each where selective breeding can make certain characteristics dominant like the color of hair or eye. This also applies to behaviors where certain breeds target certain behaviors.
There is a well known adage drunkenness is hereditary.
When any animal is born it will start with its / his / her generation's characteristics.
Having been raised a Catholic one is taught life is created at conception. On the path to salvation after that birth the individual is given total responsibility for one's final judgment.
However each individual starts with his generation's default tendencies for some behaviors. In some cases the individual must overcome something that will be a future problem, with a tendency toward drunkenness being an example. As an infant matures the generational influence can be 'just a memory' to be replaced with new experiences but it is real and it cannot be ignored when dealing with youth.
I suggest while an individual is certainly responsible for decisions along the way the physical and social environment will have strong influences on the context for every decision. As a very simple example a very poor or disabled person will have limited alternatives for most decisions unless there is someone else to help.
Life as a human being is not an individual effort. The same simple conclusion for humans also applies to other social animals.
Created March 2019
Last update 03/27/2019
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