Recall the story: Foudouko was the alpha male of this troop, but then fell from power after his chief lieutenant was badly injured. Driven out of the troop, he lived alone for nearly a year, then returned and spent the next few years hanging around the edges of the troop, keeping out of the way of the new leaders. The new alpha male, of Foudouko's generation, welcomed him back, but
the young males who had chafed under his rule were far less sympathetic. They regularly chased Foudouko out of the community, assailing him with strange calls the researchers did not recognize.Fascinating. Chimpanzee cannibalism has been documented before, always in cases like this, part of the mutilation of an enemy's body. Except that in this case the "enemy" was part of their own troop. It strikes me as a gesture of contempt; you are no longer one of us, but merely food.
Before dawn on the morning of June 15, 2013, Jill Pruetz and her assistant Michel Sadiakho heard noises from about a half-mile away from their camp: a band of chimpanzees rapidly moving to the south from their nesting site, calling out in an uproar. Pruetz, ill with malaria, couldn’t go see the hubbub, leaving Sadiakho to run after them.
What Sadiakho saw devastated him. Foudouko, who was around 17 years old, lay there dead, his hands covered in bite marks and scratches—implying that two other chimpanzees had held him down as others beat his head and torso. A gaping wound on his foot, perhaps a bite, had peeled back much of the skin and likely led to severe blood loss.
As morning came, Pruetz and her team watched many of Fongoli’s male and female chimpanzees harass—and partially cannibalize—his body, tearing out his throat and biting at his genitals.
Love the detail about the strange, unrecognized call.
National Geographic has more on this troop of chimps here.