Sunday, July 11, 2010

HOWDY, COUSIN

Baby Bonobo
Three-months old baby bonobo Nakarla is held by its mother Ukela on March 19, 2008 at the zoo 
in Frankfurt. By Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images

Christopher Ryan, writing in Physcology Today, finds it "amazing to see how eagerly the mainstream media trumpets any and all research findings that lend the slightest support to the narrative in which human warfare is an integral, ancient part of our primate past."

"It's not our fault," the thinking seems to go, "It's human nature. Look at chimps! They're our closest primate cousins!"

First off, chimps aren't "our closest primate cousin," though you'll need a sharp eye to find any mention of our other, equally intimately related cousin, the bonobo.... There are plenty of reasons self-respecting journalists might want to avoid talking about bonobos (their penchant for mutual masturbation, their unapologetic homosexuality and incest, a general sense of hippie-like shamelessness pervading bonobo social life), but the biggest inconvenience is the utter absence of any Viking-like behavior ever observed among bonobos. Bonobos never rape or pillage. No war. No murder. No infanticide.

Ever wonder what we'd be like if evolution had produced more of a human-bonobo mix?
That's precisely the speculative line pursued in Kelpie Wilson's graphic novel,
Primal Tears. Check it out.

(Original post concept and photo from The Daily Dish)

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