Just another ape

Everywhere I gape
People know the part I'm playing

It is curious that someone who keeps telling us that humans are "just another ape" seems to be very concerned that human males and females don't behave in exactly the same way, and tells us that "things are getting better" whenever they come closer to behaving in the same way.

Let's get "naturalistic" and look at sex roles among our close animal relatives. Here are some recent findings on primates... and these are by researchers seeking to "assail stereotypes" about sexual roles:

"Males compete to gain access to ovulating females; females compete to gain access to food resources they need to bear and rear their young. And female competition tends to be expressed in more subtle, less violent ways."

"The stereotype has been that pubescent males wander off, permanently leaving their relatives or the community into which they were born, in search of potential mates or new homes, whereas females remain attached to the natal group. Although that remains generally true, in several primate species - notably the African red colobus monkey, the chimpanzee and the South American howler monkey - it is the females who demonstrate such wanderlust. In fact, among chimpanzees, considered the nearest living relative of humans, males keep closer emotional attachments to their kin than females do."

"A common thread through the new findings is that the fundamental evolutionary demand - that parents successfully pass on their genes - imposes different reproductive strategies and behaviors on males and females."

The upshot here (by the way, did you know I wrote a book about Michael Upshot?) seems to be that, although there is no single way males behave or females behave among primates, within any species, they still exhibit quite different ways of behaving.

So why, as just another ape, should humans be different? If women take more time off from work to care for children than do men (naturally leading to lower wages), why isn't this simply another example of differentiated sexual behavior among primates? Why does it need to be corrected? Why would we say "things are improving" when this seemingly natural behavior is changed by government programs and so on?

Or, is it perhaps that we also need programs to correct our animal relatives? Baby gibbons spend their time hanging on to their mothers: perhaps we need a government program to eliminate the "hanging gap," until the infants spend at least 49.998% of their time hanging on to their fathers? (We don't want to go overboard and demand it be exactly 50%!)


  1. You know what the leftist response will be: you think people should behave like apes.

    That's the way they argue. Which is why they're not worth talking to about these sort of things.

  2. Gene: thank you for this post. It takes more than a modicum of courage to post on things that go against feminist thought in any way.

  3. Excellent post. This is, well, the 600 lb gorilla in the room people don't like to admit.

    Hmm. What did Bugs say? What's oake, doc?

  4. It's certainly true than both female apes and female humans can be shameless hoochies. Is anyone denying that?