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Rob Beschizza at 7:34 am Tue, Nov 20, 2012
Excellent. Can’t wait to tell my wife.
“Oo Oo” *screech* *rubber burn* *vrrmmmm* ”Yeah!”
I’m going to guess that someone, somewhere said, “Human beings are unique as the only animals to suffer from a mid-life crisis.” That seems to be the magic formula for discovering new behaviors in other species.
It’s pretty hard to say “human beings are unique because we the only ones who …” about anything that isn’t related to technological artifacts. Not many transistor radios being built by non-humans, for example, but that’s “just” very good toolmaking.
That’s what most of those statements should be, though. We are the best at toolmaking, even if we’re not unique at it. We are the best at large scale habitat modification, even if we’re not unique at it. We are the best at warfare… even if we’re not unique at it. That last one is a little embarrassing, but supply chain management is pretty tricky so that’s something to be proud of.
To me, it’s not that it suggests that the causes are “inherent in primate biology and not specific to human society.” but that it suggests chimps have a degree of self-awareness. Big difference.
Self awareness does appear to be inherent in primate biology, yes. Your statement is a little circular, and no, there’s not a big difference.
This is not a social construct unique to humans. If chimps are self aware, then self awareness isn’t unique to humans, and the consequences of self awareness aren’t unique to humans.
Sigh. There’s a big difference between saying that chimps have mid-life crises as a result of primate biology and chimps having an awareness that their best years are behind them.
So, um, they only studied Chimpanzees and orangutans at zoos. Invalidating the statement “not specific to human society”. Am I the only one who noticed this?
You are the only one who lives in a zoo.