Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'genus'.
Found 1 result
Chimpanzees and Bonobos are the two species of the Pan genus, our closest genetic relatives. Together, they share more DNA with us than any other species in the world. They have a lot to teach us, about our natural behaviour, about how we learn, and how we evolved into our current state. Since one of my favourite topics in the world is the subject of human nature (and, in turn, evolutionary psychology) I have gathered a lot of information on these creatures over the years. I've read books about their behaviour, watched documentaries about their society, and overall it has helped me paint a better picture of human life. Most readers will be familiar with the Chimpanzee - the species everybody thinks of when they hear the word "monkey". It amazes us that, even though they are obviously hair-covered animals, they act like us in so many ways. This naturally leads to the sharp, in-your-face comedy value present on any YouTube video with that word in the title. We know that Chimpanzees are agressive. They are known for their violence, their territorial nature, and everything basic and primative about humans, the stuff we'd rather not acknowledge. But what most people don't know is that there is another species of ape, the Bonobo, which shares just as much DNA with us as the Chimp. And these apes might just be the exact opposite of Chimpanzees in every way. First of all, Bonobos have Alpha Females. Rather than male leaders, girls are always in charge. Second, there is no violence. Bonobos rarely use physical confrontations, they prefer to stay peaceful with one another. Thirdly, if Bonobos could be summarized in one sentence, it would be, "Make love, not war." And I mean that literally. Bonobos make love in all possible permutations and combinations: males with females, males with males, females with females, and even infants with adults. They figure, just as their reproductive organs were made to give life, they can give pleasure, too, whenever it is needed. http://www.gaia-web.org/philosophy/sexuality/amicable.html Can you imagine living in a world where humans behaved like this? There would be no wars, no rape. No sexual tension, no confusing blockades on what is and isn't acceptable. People would be at peace. Of course, in reality it doesn't work that way. Humans are a different species, after all, and since we split from the Pan genus around 5 million years ago, we must accept that if we are anything like apes, we're a combination of two relatives, Bonobos and Chimpanzees. Those two species have always lived in Africa, divided by the Congo river. But ever since our ancestors left the jungle, we have covered new ground faster than any living thing before. Oh, the things we have achieved. We've mastered space travel. We've started thousands of religions. We created the world wide web. However, life is far from perfect, especially in some parts of the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, the only place in the world where our relatives are still alive in the wild, is also covered by human ground. And it is a place of conflict. An intense, violent, non-stop struggle. http://www.globalissues.org/article/87/the-democratic-republic-of-congo What is really disturbing is the nature of this violence. A far cry from the Bonobos on the other side of the river, using sex to resolve their conflict peacefully. Not only do these armed forces use rape, they use it as a weapon of war. To destroy. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090801194.html This kind of conflict has many, many consequences. It tears communities apart. It has caused all kinds of epidemics, from sexually transmitted diseases to emotional trauma. All kinds of people are directly harmed as a consequence of this turmoil. But it also creates more unexpected situations, as not just people, but other species are effected... http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/when-chimpanzees-attack-10-killed-in-possible-quot-revenge-quot-for-past-human-brutality/tongo-chimpanzees-congo-virunga-attacks/c3s9750/ According to this article, large numbers of Chimpanzees have begun attacking villagers in the Congo. It seems, after all the conflict they have endured, they now see humans as a threat. Very disturbing news. What would happen if there was a full Chimpanzee uprising? Would they cause serious damage to the human population? Would they show the same, terrible behaviour as us? Well, given that humans outnumber chimps on this planet by a factor of about 700,000, and know how to use firearms, I don't think we need to worry about going extinct ourselves. But that sheds more light on the second question. We have seen how some groups of humans can use sadism during conflict. We have seen how they use rape and sexual violence. Not just to relief tension, sexual or aggressive. Not just to excersize control over others. But, simply, to make other people suffer. Just as guns were created to kill, these people use sex to inflict misery, as an organized, calculated weapon of warfare. Would Chimpanzees do this, given the chance? Well, here is some discussion on the subject by PhD Frans de Waal, taken from Our Inner Ape. Chapter 3, Part 6. So, Chimpanzees are capable of forcing sex, and even using weapons as a means of coercion. But how does this compare to the armed forces of the Congo? Well, first of all, these Chimpanzees are not using sex for the same purpose. Here, in the example given, they are most likely looking for sexual pleasure outside their own group. While their behaviour is coercive and, indeed, abusive, what we are looking at here is their exact motivation. They are described using wooden weapons (branches and sticks) to attack their victims. Again, this is barbaric behaviour. But we need to understand what their real motivation is. It seems they don't intend to kill or injure their victims, only to make their demands possible. Again, "The males could also use rocks, but this might actually harm or kill their mates, which is not in their interest." So, as far as Chimpanzees are concerned, this is about as bad as it gets. There are many examples of non-consensual sex in the wild, but when it comes to the many thousands of rape victims at the DRC, nothing comes close. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/18/world/africa/18congo.html?_r=2&pagewanted=2&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1291950203-UcWVlAWT41oo3aT5XNQHGQ http://owningyourshit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/transcript-of-are-vaginas-in-house.html http://www.vday.org/node/1118 This may be a devastating topic, but one very important thing to consider is that this only covers a vast minority of human beings, when compared to our seven billion strong population. This doesn't happen all over the world, ands it is certainly not a part of human nature. Let's hear another quote from Frans de Waal. Frans de Waal's Our Inner Ape is available on Amazon. Well-written, humourous and fully engaging throughout, it offers a fascinating look at human nature. I hope this has been an interesting read, for all its light and dark.