Which mammals are most likely to kill their own?
As part of a study into the evolutionary development of lethal violence in humans, scientists at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and Universities of Granada and Rey Juan Carlos in Spain examined the rate of conspecific killings across 1,024 mammal species. Territorial and social mammals, such as meerkats, lions, wolves, many primates and some sealions, topped the results table; solitary and non-territorial species - bats, whales or marsupials - came closer to the bottom.
So where did we humans come in? “Our study provided reference values that enable us to compare conspecifc violence across species groups – including humans,” says lead scientist José María Gómez Reyes. “Compared to the average level of lethal violence across all the mammals in the study (0.3 per cent), primates are more violent (2.3 per cent). Compared to the average primate, humans are not particularly violent. Compared to primitive humans (2 per cent), modern human societies have lower levels of lethal violence.”
MeerkatsM are known tot kill their own kind.k Infanticide, for instance,i is common.