Scientists have observed a group of chimpanzees attacking and killing gorillas in the wild for the first time ever.
Experts believe the threats diminished food supplies and climate change have had on the habitat of the apes is linked to why the chimpanzees attacked and killed the gorillas during a fight for grub.
The scientific first was observed by researchers in the Loango National Park, Gabon, where the groups of chimpanzees were described as forming "coalitions" to take down the gorillas, according to the scientific journal Nature.
According to reports, around 20 chimpanzees surrounded the five gorillas, when the silverback gorilla charged into a female chimpanzee and knocked her into the air, separating her from her baby.
Ten chimps then descended upon one of the gorilla's infants and "repeatedly jumped down on and hit him whilst screaming and barking".
Researchers said the chimpanzees then went on to kill the other infant gorillas as they tried to escape.
Experts were left shocked by the site as the relationship between chimpanzees and gorillas has been "relatively relaxed" over the last 7 years.
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This comes after the researchers documented the first act of violence between the species of ape back in 2019, though this is the first time that any apes have been killed in a conflict between the two species.
Lead researcher, Lara M. Southern said: "At first, we only noticed screams of chimpanzees and thought we were observing a typical encounter between individuals of neighbouring chimpanzee communities.
"But then, we heard chest beats, a display characteristic for gorillas, and realised that the chimpanzees had encountered a group of five gorillas."
Scientists believe it is likely that these incidents may become more and more common, given the fact that the issues of climate change and food supplies seem to only be getting worse.
Tobias Deschner, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, said: "It could be that sharing of food resources by chimpanzees, gorillas and forest elephants in the Loango National Park results in increased competition and sometimes even in lethal interactions between the two great ape species."
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