Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The bi-polar ape, in love and war


“It is interesting in discussing the history of human violence to know that we have one close relative who is sort of a happy, go-lucky hippie primate, and we have one that is pretty brutal,” says Emory primatologist Frans de Waal, referring to the bonobo and the chimpanzee.

In the above video, de Waal debates whether human nature is essentially violent with psychologist Steven Pinker and anthropologist Richard Wrangham, both of Harvard.

So what can the Pentagon learn from the behaviors of chimpanzees and bonobos? De Waal covers that topic in the video below.

“I was invited one time to a think tank of the Pentagon,” he says. “I was the only animal person, the only primatologist. All the others were anthropologists, psychologists, political scientists. The Pentagon asked us the question, right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, what’s going to happen to a super power that’s the only super power in the world? How can we use that status in the world?”

The videos were produced by the Department of Expansion and the Leakey Foundation.


Related:
Men like power more than they admit
Comparing the chimp and human brain
Learning morality from monkeys

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