Power Struggles, Assassinations, Abductions, and A Four Year War...A Real Story About Chimpanzees In Africa

OMG look at that little Chimp! It's scute, right? WRONG. That little baby will grow up to a SAVAGE killing machine. I've been falling down wikipedia rabbit holes lately. It started with talking about Travis on dogwalk, and then a stoolie DMd be the page about the "Gombe Chimpanzee War" in Tanzania. A Civil War between tribes of Chimps in Africa that lasted for four YEARS. It sounds like something from Game of Thrones. Just an absolutely WILD story that shows that Chimps are really TOO much like us. 

Back in 1971 there was a group of chimps living peacefully in the jungle. The head of the tribe was this guy named "Leaky". I don't know exactly who named these chimps. It might have been Jane Goodall. Anyways, EVERYONE loved Leaky. The classic "good king". Kept the peace. He was fair. He was just. Everyone had enough food. Chimps were getting their rocks off enough. The community was thriving. It was a good time to be a Chimp. 

Then, tragically, Leaky died. The community of chimps were beside themselves. They didn't know what to do and a power vacuum emerged. Eventually a new Alpha male emerged. His name was Humphrey and Humphrey was a real sonofabitch. Big, strong, and mean tempered. He almost killed a scientist one time by throwing a rock at his head. Humphrey was a savage dictator and eventually, other chimps in the tribe started whispering around in dark corners of the jungle and conspiring against him. Two brothers, Charlie and Hugh, eventually got so fed up with Humphrey's bullshit. They began to see if the community would support a coup de etat against Humphrey, but they didn't have the numbers. They were able to recruit about 40% of the tribe and rather than trying to kill Humphrey they decided to split off, move south their females and other members, and start a new way of life. 

If you've spent one day on Earth or read one book about history you know that you don't get to just quit the gang. You can't just split off and form your own country. That's not how it works for humans. You try to leave and form a new gang, country, company, etc...you're going to war with the people from your old group. A tale as old as time. Something that is baked into our DNA at primate level, apparently. Humphrey heard that some females left with Charlie and Hugh and he was FURIOUS

He sat their with his guys plotting and waiting for the perfect time to strike and in January 1974 they moved on Charlie and Hugh. Charlie and Hugh's best buddy, Godi, was out eating lunch by himself one day. Minding his own business, and out of nowhere that fucking asshole Humphrey and his band of psychopaths ambushed Godi. They threw Godi out the tree he was snacking on and then bashed him with a fucking rock. Godi was never seen again after the attack. 

You'd think that maybe the chimps would feel a little remorse for murdering someone that they knew since he was born. A guy who probably picked bugs out of their hair for years. NOPE. No remorse. They threw a fucking party. Just hooting and hollering all the way back up north that they had jumped and probably killed one of their own friends. And guess what...it didn't stop with Godi. Humphrey's group systematically began stalking and ambushing male members of the Charlie and Hugh tribe. Dee was murdered next and then, the biggest murder of them all...Hugh. 

Charlie and the rest of his group were absolutely devastated when Hugh got murdered. They decided to send Goliath, an elderly male who was beloved by everyone to start peace negotiations. Goliath went up, had his meeting with the Humphrey clan and it went something like this.

Shows up to the meeting and promptly gets killed. Now Charlie couldn't even beg for peace. He was down to only three males able to fight in his entire clan. Charlie, and his guys Willy Wolly and Sniff were on the run, but they couldn't escape. Charlie was murdered. Willy Wolly disappeared and that left Sniff on his own with no allies in the entire world. He was practically still a baby. A teenager in Chimp years. He wandered around the jungle for a year. There was hope that he would be able to join a new tribe, but before he could do that Humphrey and his guys found him. They tore poor Sniff apart limb from limb. That was it. All of the males were dead and/or gone. With nobody left to protect them Humphrey started to go after the females. They murdered one, some fled, and the others were kidnapped and forced back under Humphrey's rule. 

I kept waiting for the story to have some sort of a happy ending...it didn't. Humphrey just won. He murdered everyone and seemingly got away with it. Chimps are our closest biological relative and it fucking shows. One thing that might be a note of evolutionary biology that helped us separate is how we eat. Humans are all about sharing food. You share with females and offspring, but also the larger community. Chimps don't. They typically hoard and eat their food alone. That is why Humphrey, that calculating motherfucker, was always able to catch the Charlie and Hugh gang members alone. Maybe wars like this have been going on for 30 million years and one group of Chimps realized that the best way to survive was to share and eat meals together and then we started walking upright and making fire and shit. Not saying, just saying, and I also watched a youtube on this last night after consuming an edible and that was the conclusion I reached. Eat alone, die alone. Anyways, that was the wikipedia entry for the day. If you've got others let me know.