Female vervet monkeys manipulate males into fighting battles by lavishing attention on brave soldiers while giving noncombatants the cold shoulder, researchers said Wednesday.
As in humans, it turns out, social incentives can be just as big a driver for male monkeys to go to war as the resources they stand to gain from fighting, whether it be territory or food.
“Ours is the first study to demonstrate that any non-human species use manipulative tactics, such as punishment or rewards, to promote participation in intergroup fights,” study co-author Jean Arseneau, a primate specialist of the University of Zurich, told AFP.
Arseneau and a team studied four vervet monkey groups at a game reserve in South Africa for two years.
They observed that after a skirmish with a rival gang, usually over food, females would groom males that had fought hardest, while snapping at those that abstained.
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Time For Truth: (Yahoo News) – Female monkeys use wile to rally troops