…because I came across this interesting piece on the web today:
They make tools and use them to acquire foods and for social displays; they have sophisticated hunting strategies requiring cooperation, influence and rank; they are status conscious, manipulative and capable of deception; they can learn to use symbols and understand aspects language including some relational syntax, concepts of number and numerical sequence; and they are capable of spontaneous planning for a future state or event.
They live in large multiple-male and multiple-female social groups called communities. Within a community, a definite social hierarchy is dictated by the position of an individual and the influence the individual has on others. They live in a leaner hierarchy in which more than one individual may be dominant enough to dominate other members of lower rank. The alpha male is the highest-ranking male which controls the group and maintains order during any disputes. In their society, the ‘dominant male’ does not always have to be the largest or strongest male, but rather the most manipulative and political male which can influence the goings on within a group. Males typically attain dominance through cultivating allies who will provide support for that individual in case of future ambitions for power. The lead male regularly displays by making his normally slim coat puffed up to increase view size and charge to look as threatening and as powerful as possible. This serves to intimidate other members in an attempt to hold on to power and maintain authority, and it may be fundamental to the lead male’s holding on to his status. Lower-ranking males will show respect by making submissive gestures in body language or reaching out their hands. Female will show deference to the lead male by presenting their hindquarters.
Females also have a hierarchy which is influenced by the position of a female individual within a group. In some communities, the young females may inherit high status from a high-ranking mother. The females will also form allies to dominate lower-ranking females. In contrast to males, which have a main purpose of acquiring dominant status for access to mating privileges and sometimes violent domination of subordinates, females acquire dominant status for access to resources such as food. High-ranking females will often get first access to resources. In general, both genders acquire dominant status to improve social standing within a group.
It is often the females who choose the lead male. For a male to win the alpha status, he must gain acceptance from the females in the community. Females have to make sure their group is going to places that supply them with enough food. In some cases, a group of dominant females will oust a lead male which is not to their preference and rather back up the other male who they see potential of leading the group as a successful alpha male.
This is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the social structure of Chimpanzees, our last common ancestors and closest living relatives. Chimpanzees are members of the Hominidae family, along with gorillas, humans, and orangutans. They split from the human branch of the family about 4 to 6 million years ago. The two chimpanzee species are the closest living relatives to humans, all being members of the Hominini tribe (along with extinct species of Hominina subtribe).
So why am I not religious? Because the above makes more sense to me in explaining our existence than this crap:
[1:1] In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,