Humans Would Be Better Off If They Monkeyed Around Like the Muriquis
When Strier was first getting to know the muriquis, primatology was still largely focused on just a handful of species that had adapted to life on
the ground, including baboons, or that had close evolutionary relationships with humans, such as apes.
This emphasis came to shape public perception of primates as essentially aggressive. We picture chest-beating, teeth-flashing dominant male gorillas
competing to mate with any female they choose. We picture, as Goodall had witnessed beginning in 1974, chimpanzees invading other territories, biting
and beating other chimps to death. Primates, including possibly the most violent one of all—us—seemed to be born ruffians.
Strier’s research introduced the world to an alternative primate lifestyle. Female muriquis mate with a lot of males and males don’t often fight.
Though bonobos, known for their casual sex, are often called the “hippie” primates, the muriquis in Strier’s study site are equally deserving of
that reputation. They are peace-loving and tolerant. Strier also showed that the muriquis turn out to be incredibly cooperative, a characteristic that
may be just as important in primate societies as vicious rivalry.
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These guys live in Brazil - and they HELP each other. When passing one another by on a branch to go for legumes there, they stop and give the one
they're passing a hug - as if to say "excuse me, sorry."
There are NO ALPHA MALES.
They stay mostly in the treetops, leaping about like Tarzan - but as their habitat shrinks due to deforestation and agriculture, they're running out
of room - so they're going to ground - which makes them vulnerable to predators.
The reason? They need more space. So now, preservationists are considering connecting the forested areas with "avenues" of trees, so they don't have
to cross the vast expanses of fields where predators can get them.
Man's encroachment on their natural habitat is forcing them to change their behaviors, which is putting them in peril. Stupid, violent,
self-absorbed, wasteful, uncooperative humans.
Yeah, these are the "hippie" monkeys...and I'm proud to be a Baby Boomer holdover of the "hippie" days when we wanted peace - we STILL want peace.
These a-hole old farts in Congress and Administration will die out eventually...
thankfully. For my part, I'm not going to weep.
This article is rather lengthy, but fascinating - I urge all of you wondering why war seems perpetual among humans to read it - and start imagining
how we can evolve to BE AS CIVILIZED as they are...
Teach our children well - and it can happen.
edit on 9/10/13 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)