Great Apes

The Primate Diaries

Category archives for Great Apes

Bonobos “Red in Tooth and Claw”

As part of the series of reposts leading up to my review of Frans de Waal’s newest book The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society I present the third of three pieces that appeared after Ian Parker’s 2007 article “Swingers” appeared in The New Yorker. In my earlier pieces “Bonobo (Re)Visions” as…

Bonobos and the Politics of Human Nature

Bonobos often adopt a “missionary” posture during copulation (photograph by Frans de Waal). As part of the series of reposts leading up to my review of Frans de Waal’s newest book The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society I present the second of three pieces that appeared after Ian Parker’s 2007 article…

Bonobo (Re)Visions

As part of the series of reposts leading up to my review of Frans de Waal’s newest book The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society I present the first of three pieces that appeared after Ian Parker’s 2007 article “Swingers” appeared in The New Yorker. As expected, the apologists for unreason who…

Benjamin Franklin once quipped, “Where there’s marriage without love there will be love without marriage.” His affairs are well known in American history, however this founding father may have been stating a truth extending to evolutionary history as well. Christopher Ryan (author of the forthcoming Sex at Dawn) offers some thoughts on the role of…

Primatologists Had it Coming

The Daily Show’s Jon Oliver investigates the question of whether humans are more closely related to orangutans or chimpanzees. The answer shouldn’t surprise you in the slightest (though it will be quite funny). The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Human’s Closest Relative www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor…

Orangutans Play the Blues

John Hawks points to a news story showing that orangutans make musical instruments: When in a tight situation, the orangutans will strip the leaves off a twig and make a crude musical instrument to alter the calls they use to ward off predators — not exactly a Stradivarius, but it seems to get the job…

Why Chimpanzees Make Bad Suicide Bombers

The Evolution of Spite is the Evil Twin of Altruism Someone walks into a crowded restaurant, looks about the diners calmly, and blows themselves up as well as everyone nearby. Why? This is a scenario that forces us to explain the dark side of human nature. Why do humans have a capacity for such hate…

Some Messed Up Monkeys*

Ernest Cline, director of the recent film Fanboys, has this hilarious spoken word piece that pretty sums up my philosophy perfectly. It’s put to music by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra and is accompanied by an 80′s style film strip which only adds to the fun. For more of his great work (including spoken word, info…

“It seems really very unfair that man should have chosen the gorilla to symbolize everything that is aggressive and violent, when that is one thing that gorillas are not, and that we are.” – Sir Richard Attenborough This quote sets the tone for a new award winning short film (see below) from the non-profit organization…

Bonobo Mother and Infant at Play

Bonobos (Pan paniscus) at Frankfurt Zoo, Germany. Joachim S. Müller / Creative Commons