short films on bonobos, the PBS sound clip, “Social Skills: Kids vs. Apes,” and the articles “Dim Forest, Bright Chimps” (Christophe Boesch and Hedwige Boesch-Achermann) and “98 Percent Alike” (Jonathan Marks).

Disccussion:
This discussion is based off of the short films on bonobos, the PBS sound clip, “Social Skills: Kids vs. Apes,” and the articles “Dim Forest, Bright Chimps” (Christophe Boesch and Hedwige Boesch-Achermann) and “98 Percent Alike” (Jonathan Marks). After examining all of this material, and with this unit’s readings (chapters 5-8) in mind, please engage in a discussion over the following questions.
Book: Our Origins-Discovery Physical Anthropology 3rd edition Clark, Spencer Larsen (2014) 978-0393921434

ONE:

How do the short films (included in the Unit 4 module) on bonobos and chimps demonstrate primate diversity? Can you draw connections between bonobo and chimp social behavior and human social behavior? In which ways do humans differ from our primate relatives? What do these differences and similarities imply about our evolutionary history?

TWO:

Both the film and the article, “Dim Forest, Bright Chimps,” address the issue of human encroachment on ape territories. Ape habitats are being destroyed, and apes are hunted for food, captured for medical research, and so on. As is explained in the film, Bonobo research is relatively recent and it’s significantly expanded our awareness of the diversity of social behavior among primates (e.g., chimps are patriarchal, hierarchical, females dominated by males, etc., whereas bonobos are matriarchal, egalitarian, and highly cooperative). Imagine for a moment that bonobos were forced into extinction before we had the opportunity to study them. What then would be missing from our understanding of primate diversity and of our potential evolutionary history? For example, would we assume perhaps that it is in our nature to organize our societies hierarchically? What is the relevance of the social diversity we witness among primates to human evolution?

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