Recently, Real Clear Science drew our attention to Chimps show lethal side, about incidents where chimps kill other chimps. Or “apes kill each other”, as the article actually says, but in my more hyper-logical frame of mind that sounds a bit like “pistols for two, coffee for none.”
However, the article (and the link to it from RCS) then goes on to refer to ‘chimp homicides’. It becomes quickly apparent that they are not referring to humans being killed by chimps.
Now the similarity of chimps to humans is strong enough even to reach into popular song:
Cigareets is a blot on the whole human raceSo if one talks about chimps murdering fellow members of their troupe, it should cause little concern. But ‘homicide’? I understand that chimps are now included in the hominins (not to be confused with homobonides*). Hominins also include gorillas, but not orang-utans. The latter can only join the hominid class reunion, which is not so popular because durians are served at table. But only the most way out people, at present, want to include them in the genus Homo.
A man is a monkey with one in his face
Take warning dear friend, take warning dear brother
A fire on one end, and a fool on the other.
(Cigareets and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women)
How has this word come to be used in this context? Is it aggressive postmodernism, powered by Genesis-phobia? Or has the author simply been watching too much American TV crime drama? Are we soon to see chimpanzees wearing the uniform of the NY/LAPD?
*a Latinized version of the German Gutmenschen.