The violence of chimps has often been held up as justification for human violence - the old 'nature red in tooth and claw' defence. It holds that clearly we can't help our violent tendencies because they are present in our closest relatives. Bonobos on the other hand are much less violent, not just because they use sex to resolve conflict. And they're matriarchal, which of course would not suit the almost exclusively male early commentators and theorizers on human evolution.shpalman wrote: ↑Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:12 am
This viewpoint is founded on early observations of chimp behaviour that ignores the forgeing of alliances, conflict resolution and other strategies to maintain social bonds that were observed and analysed by later scientists as well as a misunderstanding of the role of alpha males, but even now there is a lot of footage of violent chimp behaviour in nature programmes.
If we'd discovered bonobos first, there would have been a more nuanced view of human conflict and social behaviour in general. We wouldn't still be dealing with the legacy of the violent chimps justifying violent human males ideas. And homosexuality would have stopped being seen as 'unnatural' a lot earlier (although some still think it is solely a human aberration).
Yes, human males are generally more violent than females but our more developed brains mean we have more choices in how we act on our impulses and saying that men can't help being violent reduces them to primitive instincts the same way that saying women's main purpose is to have babies and to be caring/nurturing reduces us.
Frans de Waal is excellent on primate behaviour, debunking a lot of the myths and, based on many years of field work, exploring how we are and are not like other primates.