Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

Bibliographic Collection: 
Anthropogeny, APE
Publication Type: Book
Authors: Wrangham, Richard W; Peterson, Dale
Year of Publication: 1996
Number of Pages: 350
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
City: Boston
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 0395877432
Keywords: Aggressive behavior in animals., Apes

Contradicting the common belief that chimpanzees in the wild are gentle creatures, Harvard anthropologist Wrangham and science writer Peterson have witnessed, since 1971, male African chimpanzees carry out rape, border raids, brutal beatings and warfare among rival territorial gangs. In a startling, beautifully written, riveting, provocative inquiry, they suggest that chimpanzee-like violence preceded and paved the way for human warfare?which would make modern humans the dazed survivors of a continuous, five-million-year habit of lethal aggression. They buttress their thesis with an examination of the ubiquitous rape among orangutans, gorilla infanticide and male-initiated violence and hyenas' territorial feuds, drawing parallels to the lethal raiding among the Yanomamo people of Brazil's Amazon forests and other so-called primitive tribes, as well as to modern "civilized" mass slaughter. In their analysis, patriotism ("stripped to its essence... male defense of the community") breeds aggression, yet, from an evolutionary standpoint, they reject the presumed inevitability of male violence and male dominance over women.

Label: 1996