When talking about violence in the animal kingdom, several mammal examples spring to your mind. Perhaps big cats, like lions and tigers, or large animals like rhinos? Well, a new study shows that these are not the top answers. Researchers have recently found evidence that meerkats and primates are the most violent animals in the world.
A team of Spanish specialists at the University of Granada started an interesting study on the history of violence in the animal world. Over one hundred species were taken into consideration for the research. During the study, scientists had the chance to analyze almost four million cases of animals committing murder against a member of their own kind. In addition to these, six hundred human populations were also included in the study.
The new findings reveal a surprising reality about meerkats. The small, apparently innocent mammals seem to display murderous tendencies more than any other animal. According to the study, twenty percent of the suricates’ deaths are caused by another member of their group. Many of them are pregnant meerkats which kill other babies in order to replace them with the new ones.
Previous studies on meerkats also showed that female individuals in the leader group tend to kill relatives with lower ranks. However, suricates are highly sociable, living in colonies with more than thirty individuals.
As far as primates are concerned, they come next in the list of the most violent animals in the world. Two monkey species are considered to be highly aggressive against their own kind, namely the red-tailed monkey and the blue monkey. The murder rate with primates reaches a high level, namely 2.3 percent.
Lemurs also have aggressive behavior and murderous tendencies, as they are responsible for at least seventeen percent of the deaths of the individuals in their populations.
The Spanish researchers were also concerned with the possibility of humans inheriting aggressive and killer tendencies from primates. However, no genetic information could confirm this theory. Nevertheless, in the top of the most aggressive animals in the world, humans are number thirty. The highest levels of homicide were observed with primitive societies, and the rates dropped as humanity evolved.
Sea lions, bats, and even chinchillas are considered to be violent, as they tend to kill their own kind quite often. However, the cases of meerkats and primates are extreme. You can find more information on this animal behavior study in the journal Nature.
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