• Arnold Schroder

#2: The biology of the right-left divide pt. 2: Raven politics

Updated: Dec 20, 2020

(05/12/2020) Having described the idiosyncratic constellation of traits that correlate with political outlook in the last episode, this time we'll examine the biology of aggression in other species, and how it is correlated with a very similar set of traits. We'll talk about a utopian experiment undertaken among baboons, a revolt against male aggression by female bonobos, foxes that act like dogs, the sex lives of domestic animals, and how young ravens are leftists and old ravens are rightists.

Bibliography for episode #2:


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Carol, S. (2005) Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom. W. W. Norton and Company.

Gariépy, J., Bauer, D. & Cairns, R. (2001) Selective breeding for differential aggression in mice provides evidence for heterochrony in social behaviours. Animal Behaviour 61:933-47.


Goodall, J. (1986) Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior. Harvard University Press.


Gould, S. J. (1977) Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Harvard University Press.


Hare, B. & Kwetuenda, S. (2009) Bonobos voluntarily share their own food with others. Current Biology 20(5):230-1.

Hare, B., Melis, A., Woods, V., Hastings, S. & Wrangham, R. (2007) Tolerance Allows Bonobos to Outperform Chimpanzees on a Cooperative Task. Current Biology 17:619–23.

Hare, B., Plyusnina, I., Ignacio, N., Schepina, O., Stepika, A., Wrangham, R. & Trut, L. (2005) Social Cognitive Evolution in Captive Foxes Is a Correlated By-Product of Experimental Domestication. Current Biology 15:226–30.


Hare, B., Wobber, V., & Wrangham, R. (2012) The self-domestication hypothesis: evolution of bonobo psychology is due to selection against aggression. Animal Behaviour 83:573-85.


Heinrich, B. (2011) Conflict, cooperation and cognition in the common raven. Advances in the Study of Behavior 43:189-237.


Herrmann, E., Hare, B., Call, J. & Tomasello, M. (2010) Differences in the Cognitive Skills of Bonobos and Chimpanzees. PLoS One 5:e12438. doi:10.1371/ journal.pone.0012438


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Mitani, J. C., Watts, D. & Amsler, S. (2010) Lethal intergroup aggression leads to territorial expansion in wild chimpanzees. Current Biology 20:R507-R508.


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Thierry, B., Aureli, F., Nunn, C., Petit, O., Abegg, C. & de Waal, F. (2008) A comparative study of conflict resolution in macaques: insights into the nature of trait covariation. Animal Behaviour 75:847-60.


Trut, L. N. (1999) Early Canid Domestication: Farm-Fox Experiment. American Scientist 87: 160–9.


Trut, L. N., Plyusnina, I. Z. & Oskina, I. N. (2004) An Experiment on Fox Domestication and Debatable Issues of Evolution of the Dog. Russian Journal of Genetics 40(6):644–55.

West-Eberhard, M. J. (2005) Developmental plasticity and the origin of species differences

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102 (suppl 1) 6543-6549. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0501844102


Wobber, V., Wrangham, R., & Hare, B. (2010a) Bonobos exhibit delayed development of social behavior and cognition relative to chimpanzees. Current Biology 20:226-30.


Wobber, V., Wrangham, R., & Hare, B. (2010b) Application of the heterochrony framework to the study of behavior and cognition. Communicative and Integrative Biology 3(4):337-339.


Wrangham, R. W. & Glowacki, L. (2012) Intergroup Aggression in Chimpanzees and War in Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers: Evaluating the Chimpanzee Model. Human Nature 23:5–29.


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