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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

January 03, 2006

Original Sin (another)

It's become something of a family tradition to go to the zoo on New Year's Day. Well... all that dung in the air is sort-of cathartic after the sickly excess of xmas. Kill-or-cure, as they say.

I was interested to see that there are two kinds of chimp-like apes; bonobos and chimpanzees themselves.

I don't think it's any secret now that chimps are very aggressive, and have been known to kill each other when rival groups come into contact. They have also been known to kill monkeys for sport.

Conversely bonobos always settle disputes in social ways. They are thought to be the more intelligent of the two, and display a much greater aptitude for learning languages (sign language for example) than chimpanzees.

Of course, we humans are more closely related to the chimps.

It got me thinking that maybe we're fundamentally flawed when it comes to being the dominant species of animal on this planet, because maybe we're hardwired for aggression rather than intellect and social behaviour: bullies rather than managers. What a lost opportunity that would be. Just imagine what we'd be like if we had evolved with bonobo behaviour.

Meanwhile, I walked into the village yesterday to buy some milk. I saw that someone had dumped a television near the bottle-bank, along with a suitecase and three bin liners full of rubbish. Six of the shops had their windows smashed over the holiday period too.

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