The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #69657 Message #1215622
Posted By: Wolfgang
28-Jun-04 - 12:58 PM
Thread Name: BS: Iraqis Beheading Americans
Subject: RE: BS: Iraqis Beheading Americans
Now name a MAMMAL species of which members semi-regularly decapitate other members.
There is none, not even homo sapiens does it "semi-regularly".
Two decades ago, or a bit longer, some people even tried to defend the notion that only humans kill their own species. The reason for that wrong notion was that killing other humans is luckily a rare behaviour. That is a foreign astronaut watching our behaviour would have to wait for a very long time before seeing a killing. We only consider it frequent because when there is a killing somewhere we are likely to hear or read about it.
Animal watching at those times was usually done over a fairly short time compared to the frequency of same species killings. Longer observations have shown that nearly all predators do the occasional same species killing, even our next in kin (chimps). Some species kill and even eat the same species fairly regularly (lions, polar bears). And among those eating patterns there are some cruel looking details.
Among humans killing humans which is rare to start with, decapitations are rare again which makes any decapitation an extremely rare behaviour which normally no one observes, except that this extremely rare behaviour makes it to the media.
The observation periods for to be able to see one animal decapitation under the assumption that it occurs about as often as among humans are not yet long enough to be able to tell that they only happen in the human species. They may happen with the same frequency as in humans or they may not happen at all. We just don't know yet.
Your question implicitely does not compare similarly long periods of observation. With humans, we know it happens, with other mammals we have not sufficient data. From the present absence of evidence one should not infer the evidence of absence.