Why Are Gorillas Committing Mob Violence?

Nov 26, 2016

By Ed Yong

It started with a scream.

It either came from a fleeing gorilla named Inshuti, or from the three males who were chasing him. Whatever the case, seconds later, Inshuti was on the ground, surrounded by a mob of 25 other gorillas. They pinned him down by his arms and legs. They screamed and grunted as they bit, kicked, and hit him. They pulled out chunks of his hair. The biggest of the attacking silverbacks repeatedly sank his teeth into Inshuti’s body and shook his head, like a dog with a bone.

Four minutes later, the mob dispersed silently and Inshuti slunk away. His injuries were severe, but he survived.

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2 comments on “Why Are Gorillas Committing Mob Violence?

  • I love Gorillas. The price of clicking on the article is worth viewing the great photo of a gaping-jawed giant.
    Whatever his “real name,” I prefer to call him “The Donald.”

    Mob action, sometimes violent, sometimes fatal, sometimes wounding and sometimes actually harmless -even playful- may be generated by the contagion of hysteria combined with the herd instinct manifest in the behavior of many animals including Homo sapiens. A psychological component of mob action is the loss of self-consciousness where the individual participant no longer feels in control of his or her own actions. The mental state is akin to being swept along by an uncontrollable “high” under the psycho active effect of a powerful drug. Here the active ingredient of the drug is the infectious hysteria of the mob, collectively focused on one target.

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  • That makes sense to me Melvin, I have sometimes felt the need to remove myself when I feel a ‘mob’ type emotion starting in a group or crowd that I am a part of. A sixth sense seems to kick in to stop me losing my ability to choose for myself.

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