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"Our Inner Ape" Study of human and ape behavior

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am fascinated by our closest relatives, the great apes. We share so much with each other.
So this book I just finished really sucked me in. It's basically a primatologist's observations about the many similarities between human and ape behavior, especially chimps and bonobos. (Bonobos are very similar to chimps, but they are smaller, have longer legs, walk upright more often and are much less volitile. They were once referred to as "pygmy chimps" but are now understood to be a seperate species.)
It was fascinating to read these comparisons between our species. It also sheds some light on how some of our more ingrained behaviors evolved.
Very interesting. I now feel compelled to buy more books on primatology.
Does anyone else here enjoy this line of study?
post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
I guess what I'm getting at is....
Anyone else have a take on apes? Their behavior? How ape behavior relates to human behavior? How human behavior relates to non-ape primates?
post #3 of 6
In UK we have just finished a series on TV - Chimp Week - where a family of chimps was followed & studied. The programmes were shown every day for a week. It was OK, but they are SO violent at times. I found some of it quite upsetting & was unable to watch the entire series. What I saw was a bit scary, how similar our societies are. Don't we share 99% of the same DNA?
post #4 of 6
What's the title of the book? I really enjoyed Jane Goodall's studies of chimps, especially when she managed as one of the first to disprove that old adage that what separates humans from animals is the use of tools. I've also read some stuff by people who were in Dian Fossey's group (and "Gorillas in the Mist", of course). The primate that really fascinates me is Koko, the gorilla who uses sign language to communicate with humans, and has a companion cat.
post #5 of 6
I loved Jane Goodall's book of the letters she'd written in the past 40 years. Really amazing woman, I have so much respect for her!
What I learned about chimpanzees was pretty eye opening too. The similarities are so disquieting. I was disappointed to learn of how zenophobic they are, to the point of killing a whole band of former tribe mates who had broken off to form their own tribe.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
The name of the book is "Our Inner Ape". It's by Frans de Waal.
You know, one of the points that he brings up in the book is that many people focus on the chimp's violent, xenophobic tendancies and push to the wayside their better virtues. I wonder if this isn't because humans are la very xenophobic, violent lot, and try to find justifications for it in nature?
The author shares many stories of chimp violence, but also just as many instances of chimps being very kind and loving.
Quite a bit of the book focuses on the much more peaceful bonobos, though. They are MUCH less aggressive than chimps. Females are dominant, and they resolve spats with sex (not just intercourse...touching, kissing, rubbing, anything sexually affectionate) rather than with fighting.
I'd like to think that humans are somewhere in between the chimps and the bonobos.
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