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Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

A few days ago we pub­lished the first and sec­ond install­ments of this Peace Among Pri­mates series, by neu­ro­sci­en­tist Robert Sapol­sky. Today we pub­lish the third and final one.

Peace Among Pri­mates (Part 3)

Any­one who says peace is not part of human nature knows too lit­tle about pri­mates, includ­ing our­selves.

–By Robert M. Sapol­sky

Nat­ur­al born killers?

Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 2)

(Editor’s Note: A few days ago we pub­lished the first install­ment of this Peace Among Pri­mates series, by neu­ro­sci­en­tist Robert Sapol­sky. Today we pub­lish the sec­ond install­ment. Next Sat­ur­day, April 19th, you can come back and read the third and final part in the series.)

Peace Among Pri­mates (Part 2)

Any­one who says peace is not part of human nature knows too lit­tle about pri­mates, includ­ing our­selves.

–By Robert M. Sapol­sky

Left behind

In the ear­ly 1980s, “For­est Troop,” a group of savan­na baboons I had been studying—virtually liv­ing with—for years, was going about its busi­ness in a nation­al park in Kenya when a neigh­bor­ing baboon group had a stroke of luck: Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates- by Robert Sapolsky

(Editor’s Note: One of the most orig­i­nal minds we have ever encoun­tered is that of Robert Sapol­sky, the Stan­ford-based neu­ro­sci­en­tist, pri­ma­tol­o­gist, author of A Primate’s Mem­oir, and more. We high­ly rec­om­mend most of his books. Above all, for any­one inter­est­ed in brain health, this is a must read and very fun: Why Zebras Don't Have Ulcers- Robert SapolskyWhy Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updat­ed Guide To Stress, Stress Relat­ed Dis­eases, and Cop­ing. We are hon­ored to bring you a guest arti­cle series by Robert Sapol­sky, thanks to our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Greater Good Mag­a­zine.)

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Peace Among Pri­mates

Any­one who says peace is not part of human nature knows too lit­tle about pri­mates, includ­ing our­selves.

–By Robert M. Sapol­sky

It used to be thought that humans were the only sav­age­ly vio­lent pri­mate.  “We are the only species that kills its own, nar­ra­tors intoned por­ten­tous­ly in nature films sev­er­al decades ago. That view fell by the way­side in the 1960s as it became clear that some oth­er pri­mates kill their fel­lows aplen­ty. Males kill; females kill. Some use their tool­mak­ing skills to fash­ion big­ger and bet­ter cud­gels. Oth­er pri­mates even engage in what can only be called war­fare, orga­nized, proac­tive group vio­lence direct­ed at oth­er pop­u­la­tions.

Yet as field stud­ies of pri­mates expand­ed, what became most strik­ing was the vari­a­tion in social prac­tices across species. Yes, some pri­mate species have lives filled with vio­lence, fre­quent and var­ied. But life among oth­ers is filled with com­mu­ni­tar­i­an­ism, egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, and coop­er­a­tive child rear­ing. Read the rest of this entry »

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