Is it cruel to kill the cubs? Perhaps only humans can feel cruel.

says that aesthetics is subjective.

But humans, however, have no resistance to a series of traits, namely < strong > germination < / strong >. Such as round face, short chin, big eyes, small nose and so on, are generally recognized as the sprouting point. , and this is exactly the typical appearance of the newborn.

As early as 1943, Lorenz, a biologist, discovered that < strong > babies’faces make people put off guard and provide care . This is also known as the “baby face effect” and these germinating features are known as the “baby schema” (baby scheme).

so, the face of looks harmless to humans and animals, but it has a lot of . When adults see babies’ faces, they always unconsciously desire to take care of them. This is an instinctive, universal and evolutionary response. Because only the love of adults can the baby get care and protection and grow up smoothly.

, and some of the young animals that are persistent, have also been liked by humans and become pets. After seeing this preference, some artistic images will deliberately simulate children’s characteristics. Garfield, Snoopy, Teddy Bear and Mickey Mouse all have similar processes of image design, evolving into juveniles.

< p > Babies are sold properly, and the question arises: how did their loving looks evolve?

may be somewhat bloody in mind. Those who are not sprouting may be abandoned and killed first. And the babies left behind by screening will become more and more pleasing and lovely. Of course, it is only a hypothesis that babies are killed because they are not sprouting. There is also a view that human beings think babies are lovable and that evolution is aesthetic. This is the question of “chicken first or egg first”. It will not be discussed for the time being.

but in any case, the bloody infanticide in the animal kingdom is real and universal. From primates, carnivores, rodents, to birds and fish, even the soft-sprouted rabbits and cats you keep in your home are no exception.

looks back at the long river of history, and animal pups can be described by corpses. In some species, infanticide is even the largest source of death for newborns. For example, the cause of death of gorilla pups, at least 1/3 is due to infanticide.

At the very beginning of

, scientists thought it was only a special case, and belonged to a pathological . After all, apart from damaging females, and even affecting population reproduction, it seems to have no biological adaptability. They believe that infanticide is an oppressive effect caused by bad environment . For example, in small laboratory cages, mice often bite their newborn babies; cattle egrets give priority to two hatchlings when food is scarce and allow them to attack and kill other birds; African Black Hawks go too far and peck the second one directly and voluntarily;

but with the deepening of the research, scientists found that this phenomenon is generally so popular. even if it is not the oppression of the environment, many animals will still be cruel to the young. and primates are among the most notorious baby executioners.

< p > In 1965, Yoshio Yamamoto of Kyoto University in Japan first reported the infanticidal behavior of langur monkeys in the Indian jungle. The first thing that happened after the new monkey king “ascended the throne” was to kill all the young left by the old monkey king. at that time, the survival conditions of the monkeys could be said to be excellent, with enough food and less competition.

this paper once caused a lot of public opinion. After all, infanticide is an instinctive conflict of human beings. It is a crime to imagine such a plot. At the time, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, an anthropologist at Harvard University, rushed to India on a long expedition.

in her observation population, infanticide is selective, not indifferent. In the population of the long tailed monkeys, males will never attack their descendants. and the chosen unlucky young monkeys are less than six months old. During this period, the langur cubs did not give up breast feeding, and were still sticking to their mothers. They needed to be cared for and cared for most.

So Sarah Heldi put forward the sex choice hypothesis of infanticide: < strong > infanticide is an effective strategy for males to let females mate again.

< p > in general, mammals are not estrous in the lactation period, secretion of milk will inhibit ovulation. But if the baby is gone, there is no need to milk it anymore. therefore, the male chooses to kill the monkeys that are waiting to be fed, so that the female monkeys can enter the estrous cycle again.

< figure > < img SRC = "https://pic1.zhimg.com/v2-4425168c73c5c7ff7dc009f9a39ec2f4_b.jpg" > < figcaption > long-tailed langur holding the killed baby monkey >The term of office of the Monkey King is very short, which can be described as fleeting, usually more than two years. After , because of the decline in physical fitness, it will be defeated by more powerful males and run away. Therefore, monkey king needs to mate with the female monkeys as early as possible so that they can pass on their excellent genes.

It is meaningless for

to waste resources and energy to nurture “Lao Wang gene”. In the game of life, only those who have higher reproductive success can successfully pass customs. And after mating, the male’s infanticide stops, presumably to prevent miscarriage of his offspring.

< figure > < img SRC = "https://pic4.zhimg.com/v2-4dec5d7f3337a4dcaaa259ef711b5d1e_b.jpg" > < figcaption > monkeys looking at dead babies

later, more and more evidence shows that this strategy is common. In the animal kingdom, 51 species of primates do this, including lions, mice and hippos. Moreover, this phenomenon of male infanticide occurs mostly in herds of males and females . the more male dominated social structure, the higher the frequency of infanticide.

< figure > < img SRC = "https://pic3.zhimg.com/v2-9b1a95ebb56f1cf451bc16d7e28c2ce0_b.jpg" > < figcaption > male langur hunting pups >

however, wherever there is oppression, there is resistance.

< p > Mothers who are expelled from their husbands but are unwilling to lose their flesh and blood will do everything possible to prevent their children from being slaughtered. For example, lioness will spend most of their energy on protecting the cubs. They will hold the cubs in their mouths, and keep fighting with the males.

is just not always satisfying, but the elbow is always unsuitable for the thigh. Protecting babies takes a lot of energy, day and night, but male infanticide takes only a few seconds.

< figure > < img SRC = "https://pic3.zhimg.com/v2-738 fef0b179 cdc7240ff72d420d79441_b.jpg" > < figcaption > lioness protecting cubs

some female animals are very peculiar in coping styles, such as promiscuity. females mate with multiple males, making it difficult for males to distinguish which children are their own. , in order to avoid accidental injury, male infanticide behavior will be reduced.

for example, male chimpanzee is one of the few primates that will not infanticide. and bonobos are often referred to as the most sexually open animals, so males are less likely to identify their offspring.

, of course, this is also related to the social structure of chimpanzee.

< p > In the bonobo population, females dominate, and the offspring are raised together. from the perspective of social evolution, the malpractice of a male and female group is to intensify competition among males. some males do not reproduce, which may lead to infanticide. In such polyandrogynous groups, males are more or less given the opportunity to reproduce, effectively curbing infanticide.

< figure > < img SRC = "https://pic2.zhimg.com/v2-416d5a4fcd64a8e82148fbf0b88eab6a_b.jpg" > < figcaption > bonobo

in addition, the socialization of monogamy can also reduce the male infanticide rate. about 27% of primates, including humans, will practice monogamy. This long-term relationship, in which males also share the responsibility of raising their offspring, reduces the scope of their activities to protect their wives and children. Therefore, there is a view that only in order to avoid the risk of infanticide, human beings prefer monogamy.

but in fact, none of these methods prohibit cruel infanticide, including human beings. In these “cooperative breeding” species, the protagonist of infanticide has become the mother. If a mother feels lack of support and assistance, or feels the cost of raising a child is too high, the baby will suffer.

silk monkey is named emperor monkey because its beard is like the German monarch William II.

but the male silky monkey does not have the emperor’s life. In addition to providing sperm, they are more like “nannies” and play an important role in raising offspring. Female silk monkeys in pregnancy try to free busy males from the “nanny service” slot. If the males are having children, the unlucky ones are likely to be killed by the females, even if they are the offspring of their daughters.

in human morality, no matter who, for what reason, injure the baby is a crime. But we have to admit that even under strict moral restraints, human infanticide is “in one continuous line”. Human mothers also abandon or kill their children when they feel they lack social support, such as poverty, illegitimate children, etc. This is usually done within a few hours or a day after the baby has been born. At that time, the emotional connection between mother and child was not strong enough. So don’t misunderstand the nature of motherhood, and think that being a mother is bound to be good for children. In fact, “motherly love” is conditional and requires certain situational cues to activate.

The adjective for the cause of infant death in the Western world – < strong > “too thick a quilt” is just a shroud for infanticide, meaning that the infant was “accidentally” blinded to death in the quilt. In Florence in fifteenth Century, 15% of babies died.

By the 18th century, a doctor had understood the superficial meaning of “too thick a quilt” and invented a “Florentine nursery rack”. The child raising rack looks like three long legged cages to prevent babies from suffocating.

at that time the child care rack was forced to use. But there was no evidence that it worked, and as always there were more newborns who died of “too thick quilts”. So many cases can be directly identified as murder.

According to admission records at the Brodmoor Psychiatric Hospital, 48% of women admitted between 1902 and 1927 were due to infanticide.

“It’s natural to kill for your life,” but these hysterical women sent to psychiatric hospitals are not necessarily ill. At the moment of abandoned baby, she may be inspired by the drive of evolution. This is of guiding significance for the protection of the welfare of the new generation. Women may need more social support for moral constraints.

* reference

Sarah Blaffer Hrdy.Mother Nature:Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species[M].1999

Jordana Cepelewicz. why primates kill their children? .Nautilus. shell translation.2016.11.22

Dieter Lukas, Elise Huchard.The evolution of infanticide by males in mammalian societies [J].Science.2014

Zhang Peng. Non human primates: their infanticide and their adaptation significance. Journal of mammals [J].2011,31 (2):185-194

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