Declaring the cause must be food competition or climate change seems a bit hasty?
These are complex social animals. Given this is the only attack ever observed, it seems possible to me that there are a myriad of plausible one-off explanations. Perhaps a particular chimp or gorilla was having a really bad day and just went out looking for a fight.
> Between 2014 and 2018, we observed nine direct interactions between individuals of the Rekambo community and unhabituated gorillas (N=9; see Fig. 1). These events were always peaceful, and occasionally involved co-feeding in fruiting trees (N=2). In 2019 however, we observed two encounters resulting, in both cases, in coalitionary lethal attacks. The first encounter involved a party of 27 chimpanzees and a group of five gorillas. The second involved a party of 27 chimpanzees and a group of seven gorillas (see Table 1, and video clips 1 and 2 in the SA). The first event occurred after a territorial patrol during which the males made a deep incur- sion into a neighbouring chimpanzee territory. The second event happened at the start of a suspected territorial boundary patrol. Both events took place on the outer boundaries of the Rekambo territory (see Fig. 1). The main aggressors in both events were adult male chimpanzees (for details of involvement see Table 1).
The two encounters lasted 52 and 79 min, respectively, involved both contact and non-contact aggressions and coalitionary displays from chimpanzees towards gorillas. The gorillas counter attacked and defended themselves using contact aggressions, displays and threat gestures. During the first encounter the silverback was present for 14 min, whilst in the second encounter the silverback was present for 10 min. The first encounter resulted in one dead gorilla infant and three injured chimpanzees; the second resulted in one dead gorilla infant. While there was no indication of consumption of the dead gorilla infant in the first encounter, the infant in the second encounter was almost entirely consumed by one adult chimpanzee female.
It's not a declaration, but a hypothesis that attempts to explain the observations according to prior knowledge. It "will now be investigated in more detail" to try and disprove it. That's bog standard scientific work.
What's hasty is the easy dismissal of the opinion of experts on a subject most commenters here are probably unfamliar with (interspecies interactions between non-human primates) and the attemps to find an ulterior motive of some kind of political nature, in comments in this thread.
When did HN become so anti-science?
The scientific establishment is a group of people in various organizational structures and alliances. I'm part of that establishment, and I can say that it lies, exaggerates, and has become increasingly untrustworthy in the past decade or two:
- The easiest way to get ahead in the scientific establishment is to fabricate politically-motivated results.
- Competition is intense, and the "hard" way is becoming impossible.
My general advice is to read source data -- even there with a large grain of salt -- but to definitely not trust "expert" conclusions. One of the easiest ways to have "impact" is to write newsworthy conclusions weakly supported by evidence. It's not technically academic fraud, and gives you the visibility you need for academic job offers.
Science isn't about authority or expertise. It's about evidence, critical thinking, and the scientific process. If you believe science is "opinion of experts," you're doing it wrong.
If I haven't said that in my comment, would you say I'm obliged to reply to your
comment and explain why I'm not, in fact, "doing it wrong"?
Do you agree that when having a conversation one should reply to what one's
interlocutor has actually said, and not what one thinks has been said?
>> Science isn't about authority or expertise. It's about evidence, critical
thinking, and the scientific process.
I disagree. "Science" means knowledge. What we call science is a process, like
you say, but it is the process of accumulating and organising the collective
knowledge of our civilisation. "Evidence, critical thinking and the scientific
process" are not the essence of science, but tools to acquire knowledge, and
this knowledge is the essence of science.
The people who have deep knowledge of a subject of scientific inquiry, we call
"experts". At least I do and that's what I mean by "expert" in my comment
above. To become an expert -to acquire deep knowledge in a subject- takes long
years of study and familiarity with the work of other experts. "Evidence,
critical thinking, and the scientific process" don't make anyone an expert. Hard
work and applying oneself to the task of learning is what does.
Yet, what I see on HN, time and again, is that it is the opinions of non-experts
that are supported by the majority of users. I say that because every time I see
a post like the one above, where some researchers announce the results of their
work, someone will always, always, jump in and dismiss the work of the
researchers, and that someone usually has no idea what they're talking about,
has spent a minimal amount of time thinking about or learning about what
they're talking about, and their comment will rise to the top of the
conversation, like a flag waving in the wind proclaiming "we do not care what
you know, we can do better with a quick google and some bungled logic". That
such comments rise to the top of conversations means that they are the ones most
other users agree with.
This, the preponderance of inexpert opinion found as the first comment in posts
about researchers' work, dismissing the researchers' work and supported by a
majority of HN readers, is what I think of as "anti-science".
Right here: "What's hasty is the easy dismissal of the *opinion of experts* on a subject ... When did HN become so anti-science?"
> The people who have deep knowledge of a subject of scientific inquiry, we call "experts".
Those "experts" said that Jews, Slavs, and African Americans were stupid and inferior to Anglo-Saxons, and ought to be enslaved or killed. Science is not a blind deference to "experts."
> Hard work and applying oneself to the task of learning is what does.
I have not found this to be the case. The harder work required is combing through evidence. People who apply hard work to learning generally come out as ideologues who can regurgitate opinions, from similar ideologues who came before. The way to become an expert involves looking at primary sources and understanding the evidence which went into a conclusion. In my domain, it involves working through a lot of math too.
A lot of the scientific establishment is a game of telephone where Bob cites Sue who cites Jill who cites Jim, and by the time you get to the end, there is no trace of evidence left. Good science involves recognizing when that's the case.
> This, the preponderance of inexpert opinion found as the first comment in posts about researchers' work, dismissing the researchers' work and supported by a majority of HN readers, is what I think of as "anti-science".
Then you're wrong in your thinking. This is anti-scientific-establishment.
I am a recognized "expert" in one domain of research. That's why I am anti-scientific-establishment. I see how the sausage gets made. I am pro-science.
I think the scientific establishment would benefit from more diversity -- in all dimensions (liberals talk about race and socioeconomics, conservatives about ideology, and no one talks about culture), more transparency, broader engagement, and more, to be blunt, audits to make sure people didn't fabricate results.
So you choose to misrepresent what I said? Disappointing.
And still if researchers would only care about getting funding, they'd all "prove" that them fucking democrats eat children cause man, would they get donations by them QAnon people.
And of course if you have a distinguished researcher in a field voicing a clear and educated guess/opinion, its worth much more then any random person commenting here ...
Oh yes it is. We're not just talking about criticisms of individual papers here; this site often has comments disparaging science as a whole, calling it a "new religion", etc. If that isn't anti-science, then there isn't such a thing.
Moreover, typical commenters here do not apply evidence, critical thinking, and scientific process appropriately. They usually find something easy to nitpick that gives them the appearance of thinking critically, then they conclude that the research is trash. See: the recent article on caffeine.
It's one giant fallacy fallacy masquerading as deep conversation.
A hypothesis is just a statement to be tested against reality. We don't automatically have to assume it is true. It is literally someones untested opinion.
All that matters in science is the truth about the underlying reality, i.e. the experiments that verify the hypothesis.
You are angry that people aren't somehow placing this hypothesis on a pedestal by mere appeal to authority. But science doesn't work like that, that's academia.
I think “climate change” is a bit indirect as a topic myself, would love to hear something about how these encounters would be directly caused by a change in temperatures, humidity, rainfall and the like. Non-human primates don’t share our politics. Food pressure or loss of habitat might cause more of these encounters, and those could attribute to climate change, that’s indirect.
Gangs of adult male chimpanzees can be right assholes. Pinning down another chimp and tearing its rectum, among other violent indignities, suggests that they’re capable of lots of other violence.
Specifically, expertise depends on having the necessary prior knowledge to know whether a hypothesis is likely or not.
This doesn't necessarily contradict the food competition or climate change hypothesis. To the individual ape it might seem that he's just having a bad day, but then you could look at weather/food data and compare it to incidence of violence and see a causal relation. It would actually be surprising if those things didn't affect ape behavior.
As to why they’ve been like this recently, I can’t tell for sure. I feel like it’s been a bit kore than just a few months though, obviously 2020 was a US election cycle and things tend to get dicey around those times. I recall in both 2016 and 2020 people getting upset by the low quality threads, and other attempted to placate them by swearing it’d be over in a few months. Now it’s been more than a few months at this point, but there was also so much more than an election cycle in 2020 to cause political division.
Which leads to another point. HN is explicitly not a venue for politics, but politics infects everything so it gets complicated. For example, are political threads related to tech and startups off topic? I wouldn’t say no offhand, but there certainly have been an increase in the number of inheritor political threads that I’d personally consider this not the place for. Often this is justified by a lax interpretation of “anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity” (note though that the sort of threads I’m thinking of almost never contain inquisitive or intellectual discussion) from the submission guidelines. So if political threads are more common and more accepted, that’s going to invite all the sort of antics you get with internet politics including the sort of comment you mention in your comment. Some of the most egregious stuff will get flagged, but some surprisingly bad comments can stay upvoted if the opinion expressed resonates with enough of the community.
And it's also quite usual that these kinds of press releases have to include some political punchline, to confirm being on the right side of history and so on. It's predictable.
Maybe it's totally benign in this case. But I've been duped so many times that I discount any such claim which ties into these "serious respectable talking points". I'm planning to take a look at Lawrence Krauss' now book on climate change, that dude still seems to have his head screwed on the right way.
Seems entirely reasonable to hypothesise the cause of aggression being related to this. That's not something they tested, merely a proposed hypothesis.
Sorry, sometimes the convenient hypothesis is a good one. It's just hard to test, since we cannot spin up Earth 2. That's one of the hard parts of ecology.
It's the boy who cried wolf.
NY Times has been running a series of articles blaming every fire and extreme weather event on climate change. This does two things:
1. Convinces liberals of the coming apocalypse of climate change, since it aligns with their views.
2. Convinces conservatives that the climate change folks are lying, since there are several logical steps missing, and it doesn't align with their views.
I'm sure some of those events are related to climate change. I'm sure some aren't. I don't think we really know which is which.
The problem with using (transparently) bad logic to get to a correct conclusion is that people no longer trust you.
If you look at conservative media, they point to (now obviously wrong) predictions from the eighties, where citations and reporting would go to the most extreme predictions.
It's really hard to convince someone of something after they've been lied to multiple times.
Sorry chimps, that was mean.
Do you have a source for this?
So it doesn't seem that's their natural behavior. So how's that relevant? Oh wait it its, just exactly the opposite of what you said! Nice.
Don't be sad. For grown ups its normal to live with objections. You'll learn.
> How is natural behavior relevant to the discussion
Original post: " Perhaps a particular chimp or gorilla was having a really bad day and just went out looking for a fight." that implies natural behavior.
And if you, in your grand wisdom, don't see it, it cannot be the case. Yeah.
It seems like an educated guess.
Do chimps and gorillas do such things?
Can be translated to "we know this is a good word to say to get research money, so we say it" in this context.
Also, I'm really pissed and also I'm kind of convinced that its too late anyways to try to convince someone who says stuff like that that they're not right. The only thing that can still be done is trying to keep more people from getting sucked into that black hole. The best way to do this seems to be to de-platform these people. The 2nd best way? No idea. Did I mention I'm pissed?
I mean, do you really believe well-researched, weighted, deliberate, thought-through arguments still help? Wouldn't climate science then have succeeded in convincing people? Maybe 20, 30 years ago. But then some people decided to start systematically lying instead of facing reality and lots of people decided to believe those lies and not face reality, and here we are.
Look, I'm not arguing with you here. You're admittedly pissed. Please take a breather. This approach can only bolster confirmation bias for folks who think that science is just another religion with fanatical adherents.
There's a lot of writing about (including several studies) how to talk to people with extreme / conspiratorial / fact-resistant beliefs. Please read up.
Even if it’s just a one-off, terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-day event, one effect of changes in average local weather might be that many individuals are more stressed.
That's pretty gruesome.
That made me wonder how risky filming this is.
Google didn’t give me cases of attacks on observers, but it did give me https://observers.france24.com/en/20120926-midst-armed-confl..., so I think those observers are at some risk.
It also taught me chimpanzee wars exist (https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229682-600-only-kno...)
Although noteworthy that the chimpanzees scattered and broke down the defenses of Silverbacks, it would be more noteworthy if they took down an adult male
What moved me most, apart from their usual monkey business, is their display of quiet private tenderness towards their partner. That took me by surprise.
Everyone has some personal experiences that they would remember because it changed their perspective or added one when non existed. This would be one of them for me.
A family friend of ours was researcher in medical biology. His daily work included draining blood from rhesus monkeys for testing. I remember as a kid that he gave up his line of work. At that time it had struck me as an odd thing to do because he was doing so well. When I saw the behavior of these monkeys from up close, I got a better appreciation of why.
The Max Planck Society is a research organization with a steady, long-term funding through the German government that is organized in a bottom-up manner, meaning the directors of the various institutes can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want and decide about everything important in that organization. There are dozens of institutes doing research in virtually every research field. And yeah, lots of Nobel prizes. They really don't have to follow some political lead or short-term trends.
Just, you know, fyi (the other fyi, yes).
Moreover, the silverback was troubled by the presence of human observers and fled 3 minutes later, whereas the chimpanzees were habituated to the human presence.
> In both events, the chimpanzees considerably outnumbered the gorillas. [...] At 17:13, the silverback charged an adolescent female chimpanzee, Gia, knocking her into the air. At 17:15, a group of approximately nine male chimpanzees (adults and adolescents), and at least one adult female chimpanzee surrounded the silverback, and repeatedly jumped down on and hit him whilst screaming and barking. [Meanwhile, the gorilla infant could be kidnapped by the other chimpanzees.] At 17:22, one adult male chimpanzee, Littlegrey, was observed sitting on the ground holding a gorilla infant in front of him.
> During the first encounter the silverback was present for 14 min [out of a total of 52 min], whilst in the second encounter the silverback was present for 10 min [out of a total of 74 min]. [...] At 12:33, the silverback discovered the human observers on the ground in a distance of approximately 30 m to the base of the tree and started barking. [...] At 12:36, the silverback rapidly climbed down the tree and fled. The chimpanzees continued barking but did not follow him. [...] We cannot rule out that the presence of human observers, in both events, may have had an effect on the unhabituated silverback’s departure and may have tilted the imbalance of power in favour of the habituated chimpanzees.
Besides, the Covid lab leak theory is plenty to keep that weirdo going for awhile.
May the victors write our history.
Way to go, jumping right into speculation, as scientists they shouldn't be so trigger happy, specially given that they go on to say
> We are only at the beginning to understand the effects of competition on interactions between the two great ape species
Lost world revealed by human, Neanderthal relics washed up on North Sea beaches (sciencemag.org)
226 points by chippy 8 hours ago 81 comments
Yesterday’s top 10 had: https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2021-07-20
Restaurant workers quit at record rate (npr.org)
434 points by boulos 1 day ago 907 comments
Baltimore Museum of Art will host an exhibition curated by the museum's guards (artbma.org)
415 points by hampelm 1 day ago 139 comments
MAPS Celebrates California Senate Passage of Psychedelic Reform Bill (maps.org)
303 points by pmoriarty 1 day ago | 87 comments
My mindfulness practice led me to meltdown (danlawton.substack.com)
480 points by mudita 1 day ago | 539 comments
But let's go further and just delete articles on gorillas and the dangers of mindfulness meditation as well? They have nothing to do with tech, anyways...
Actually, that would in fact be a very straightforward example of censorship. Which isn't to say that it would necessarily be a bad thing - moderation involves limited and targeted censorship.
Let's not go redefining words in order to defend a particular course of action. We should argue the actual merits instead.
Gorillas needs to watch their aggressive expansion. Especially since Chimpanzee tribes are overpowered since Leviathan.