Tag Archives: chimps

Who’s ‘Our Inner Ape’? Or, I got your hippie chimp right here, and it’s not a bonobo

Here’s a YouTube rendition of the slideshow I presented at Nerd Nite DC in 2016. The script follows the video. A shorter version is here.

A woman recently came up to tell me that bonobos were her favorite primates. “Not humans?” I asked, but I knew better. Thanks to primatological popularizers, bonoboism has become widespread. But people looking for a “hippie chimp” are lionizing the wrong species. Continue reading

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I Got Your Hippie Ape, Right Here

Spotting my bonobo-themed T-shirt, a woman recently approached to say that they were her favorite primates.

“Not humans?” I asked, but I knew better. Thanks to Frans de Waal and other primatological popularizers, bonoboism has become widespread. I’m part of the problem, having written a novel about it as a metaphor for anthropology. But people looking for a “hippie chimp” are lionizing the wrong species. Continue reading

Do chimp fathers protect their offspring?

To some evolutionary researchers, parental love is a mechanism to foster the transfer of genes through successive generations. Feeling emotionally attached to our children, most humans feed and protect our offspring and prepare them to thrive as adults, including as breeders. But when did this start for fathers – did our common ancestor with chimps and bonobos do the same? Recent research among chimpanzees suggests that the answer is yes. Continue reading

Chimps can remix behaviors to increase efficiency

The list of distinctive human abilities keeps getting shorter. Once again, our close cousin the chimpanzee has chipped away a bit of our uniqueness. A new study demonstrates that these great apes possess the ability to mix elements of existing techniques to improve efficiency—a part of “cumulative culture.” Continue reading

Presenting at Nerd Nite DC, 10/8

14470576_10209462687218583_1412463759934224376_nThis Saturday evening I’ll unspool an addendum to my novel Bonobo! at Nerd Nite DC. The show starts at 6:30 PM at DC9 Nightclub. Other talks will address head transplants (looks bloody riveting), the screwworm fly, and lesbian vampires. Here’s the blurb for my part:

Our Inner Ape is Human

People share 98+ percent of their genome with chimps and bonobos. So which represents our true human nature? Are we inevitably patriarchal and warlike, like the abstemious chimps – or possibly matriarchal and peaceable, like the randy bonobos? In short, will having sex with everyone all the time produce the new millennium? Maybe! But studying other apes isn’t the way to answer the question. I’ll explain why, to understand human possibilities, we should focus on … people. Along the way, I’ll touch on the evolution, genetics, and comparative behavior of chimps, bonobos, and humans.