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 →
This 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.