11 July 2008

We're all still monkeys

A friend of mine sent me this terribly fascinating piece today. Here's a quote to lure you in:
And although human males might not be inflexibly polygamous or come with bright red butts and six-inch canines designed for tooth-to-tooth combat, it was clear that our species had at least as much in common with the violent primates as with the gentle ones.
Basically, the author, Robert M. Sapolsky, tries to establish a biological history of peace and conflict in primates, including human beings. I'll admit to having been in the "we're the only beasts in the forest that line up and kill each other" camp, but have realized over time that's incorrect. Sapolsky goes on to explore not only instances of violence in different primate species, but also forms of conflict resolution, including this teaser line:
And then there is the sex.
The piece is long, but worth the read. It certainly casts a unique perspective on this whole peace business.

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