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Response to WhiteTara (Reply #1)

Tue Apr 29, 2014, 03:04 PM

3. The "No Asshole Rule" (Sapolsky, Share & the Baboons):

This is the first thing that sprang to mind upon reading your comment--

http://bobsutton.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/11/the-baboon-troop-that-mellowed-out-after-the-alpha-males-died-the-sapolsky-and-share-study.html

Biologists Robert Sapolsky and Lisa Share have followed a troop of wild baboons in Kenya for over 20 years, starting in 1978. Sapolsky and Share called them “The Garbage Dump Troop” because they got much of their food from a garbage pit at a tourist lodge. But not every baboon was allowed to eat from the pit in the early 1980s: The aggressive, high status males in the troop refused to allow lower status males, or any females, to eat the garbage. Between 1983 and 1986, infected meat from the dump led to the deaths of 46% of the adult males in the troop. The biggest and meanest males died off. As in other baboon troops studied, before they died, these top-ranking males routinely bit, bullied, and chased males of similar and lower status, and occasionally directed their aggression at females.

But when the top ranking males died-off in the mid-1980s, aggression by the (new) top baboons dropped dramatically, with most aggression occurring between baboons of similar rank, and little of it directed toward lower-status males, and none at all directed at females. Troop members also spent a larger percentage of the time grooming, sat closer together than in the past, and hormone samples indicated that the lowest status males experienced less stress than underlings in other baboon troops. Most interestingly, these effects persisted at least through the late 1990’s, well after all the original “kinder” males had died-off. Not only that, when adolescent males who grew up in other troops joined the “Garbage Dump Troop,” they too engaged in less aggressive behavior than in other baboon troops. As Sapolsky put it “We don’t understand the mechanism of transmission… but the jerky new guys are obviously learning: We don’t do things like that around here.” So, at least by baboon standards, the garbage dump troop developed and enforced what I would call a “no asshole rule.”

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TBF Apr 2014 OP
WhiteTara Apr 2014 #1
yallerdawg Apr 2014 #2
LineLineNew Reply The "No Asshole Rule" (Sapolsky, Share & the Baboons):
Jackpine Radical Apr 2014 #3
WhiteTara Apr 2014 #4
Jackpine Radical Apr 2014 #5
TBF Apr 2014 #6
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