Thursday 25 September 2008

The Carnivorous Primate- Monkeys Who Think Like Wolves

One of the most significant archaeological finds of man's prehistoric past was one which contained no human fossils at all.

It was found in Spain and dated to a period before Homo Sapiens, back in the shady days of Homo Erectus and Homo Ergaster.

It was half an elephant. Not a modern elephant, but one of the elephants extinct cousins, of a kind whose descendants later become those curious furry mammoths.

It's remains lay with countless other elephant bones in what had, hundreds of thousands of years ago, been a swamp.
But half elephants never roamed the plains of ancient Europe.

What was significant was that the scores along the bones could be seen, where the flesh had been carved away. There could be no doubt how this kill had been achieved.

The herd had been stampeded in to the swamp and it's flesh carved from it.
This, getting on for a million years ago.

We forget how long we have been predators. And at this point, we were just reaching out for the crown.
That was yet to come.

Our journey to become what we have, has been a curious one. The odds of it happening seem so strange. And yet, it is the strangeness of it makes us what we are.

Sixty five million years ago, the mammals inherited the earth. The demise of the reptiles left so many niches free. And the mammals bagged every single one.

But the dominant position, the lords of the earth, the pinnacle of the food chain, that was taken by the carnivores.

Highly evolved killing machines. Look at your dog. Sure, he looks sweet and he is sweet, we bred him that way. But there's a lot that's important about the dog. His ancestor's were wolves.

Wolves are armed by nature. Armed with sharp claws and shearing teeth, designed to pull flesh from its bones. They think spatially, they move with speed, they plan and tactically think.
And they have special instincts. They don't just need to eat, they actually need to make a kill. Kill first, eat second. Your dog CAN'T leave the birds alone. You may have fed it, it needs a kill. It will chew that squeaky toy till it stops squeaking.

It has evolved like that over tens of millions of years.

Not Primates. Primates live in trees and eat berries. They are curious, exploratory and highly emotional. They care for eachother and protect eachother in a way that is unique, even for mammals.

And between two and four million years ago, one group of apes adopted a lifestyle that you'd think was doomed to fail.
They took on the carnivore's niche.

You'd think this couldn't work. but it did. Because those inquisitive, thinking primate brains learned to think like the carnivores. They may have lacked teeth and claws, but they learned to make tools to do the job.

And in time, they outcarnivored the carnivore.

They learned to think like wolves. And this is what we don't quite realise. The most significant symbiotic relationship in evolutionary history is all about two species that had learned to think the same.

Why is it we love dogs so much, despite their lack of anthropomorphic similarities? Because we learned to think like wolves. We love them with the love of primates, but we empathise with them as wolves.

Because some experts think the reason why it was Homo Sapiens who carried the day and extincted Neanderthal man and all other human species was very simple. Homo Sapiens hunted with dogs. With Homo Sapiens, wolf had thought 'If you can't beat them, join them'.

Because Homo Sapiens was lethal. It is a feature of the arrival of Homo Sapiens in any land mass that within a thousand years, most large mammals are extinct. only in Africa has this general rule been broken. But between 30,000 BC and 10,000 BC Man extincted the Mammoth, the Mastadon, the Cave Bear, the Sabre Tooth Tiger, the Giant Kangaroo, the Short-faced Kangaroo, the Ground Sloth and the Glyptodon, to name but a few.

Some it ate, some were competition. Either way, it's a good job Man discovered agriculture and penning animals in, rather than just driving them off cliffs, because otherwise he'd have been so good, he'd have run out of food.

So let's be honest, if you want to talk about the instincts of the predator, well, it's us, surely?

Only it's not. Not entirely. And I think I've kind of realised why not. I kind of see what has happened.

What's happened really is that most people, if left to their own devices, remain primates, to a large degree. What has actually happened over the last few million years has been the development of a certain character type. Primates who think like wolves. And they remain a minority, still.

I remember seeing somewhere that even in a battle, eight of ten people without realising they do so, deliberately miss. They try to avoid killing unless they absolutely have to.
But two out of ten will always shoot to kill.

So it's a minority of human beings who are capable of being merciless killers. But of course, they were the ones who's ancestors led the hunt, their adrenalin pumping, planning where to drive the herd. The rest just made a lot of noise. The instincts of the species as a whole are those of Primates, but the leap forward has been made by those who passed on genes showing more and more carnivore characteristics.

This explains a lot. I have often felt that males who think the way I do, are a clear minority. My best friend is a similar type to me, and I realise I understand that type. I understand why.

All males are part wolf, part monkey. He, like me, is more wolf than monkey.

Ultimately, so much of how we see the world- and react to it- is conditioned by the fact that whilst most people instinctively think like primates, we belong to the minority who essentially think like carnivores.

A lot makes sense when you accept that. It's a hard point to get your head round, because of course, there is a minority of people of this personality type who really are a menace to society. I think it's true to say that by definition, all sociopaths and psychopaths MUST fall into this character type.
But the point is, they remain a minority, even of this character type. Do the maths. Nine out of ten 'wolf thinkers' are clearly NOT sociopaths or psychopaths.

What makes the difference?
Is your dog a psychopath?
No, your dog is a very loving, tactile animal. So is the wolf thinker.

The sociopath/psychopath is like the abused Rottweiler. That is what he is. He is the wolf thinker whose development has not happened properly and has not developed the capacity to emote, form bonds and develop a sense of environmental and social awareness that separates him from the other nine out of ten wolf thinkers.

Probably the fact the figure of maladjusted wolf thinkers is that high, is down to the fact that it is hard for us to develop normally in a society essentially set up to cater for the developmental needs of the majority primate thinkers.

And yet of course, most of us do, one way or another. I think we're often misunderstood, because we don't think the same. For example, at school we're often seen as lazy. Not trying. Clearly bright but just not making an effort. Disruptive.

I disagree. I know how I think, it's not quite the way academia expects. It only sees one type of intelligence. But wolves think differently to monkeys. Monkeys learn things in stages, wolves see the whole picture, then fill in the details.

But I do recognise a certain character type which is me, many people I know and understand and see are- my own. Pack animals, not tribe creatures.

Is it a coincidence we tend to all be intelligent, but more in a synaesthetic than academic way? Is it coincidence we are all highly addictive personalities? Of course not, we need the high, the thrill of the kill, the burst of adrenalin as spear slides into flesh. We miss it, we crave it.
I guess that's why we all work in sectors which replicate the dynamics of the savannah. Close a deal, make a kill, what's the difference?

I look at so many of the characteristics I have, my best friend has, and other people I know who fit the bill, and I realise that they are minority character traits, traits which fit carnivores, not primates.

And again, it goes back to dogs.

I realise, my approach to life is that of a dog. As is that of my best mate and those generally I relate to best. It's how a dog treats life. Reliance on body language and posturing. Use of eye contact and voice. Those really are the things I rely on life. I use them to a huge degree. I'm very big on using my eyes and my voice.

But it's beyond that. Dogs actually are more social animals than primates. And it's interesting that, like most dogs I can't deal with long periods of time outside human contact. After all, I can only cope with living on my own by keeping this blog and continually having music playing and Yahoo Messenger running as well. And it's still rare I can go an evening without heading off for a pint.

I think most wolf thinkers are dog lovers. I often think of dogs as kind of furry people and I've yet to meet one I haven't emoted with. If I come round your house and you have a dog, trust me, your dog will instinctively come and sit on my lap. All dogs do. Dogs can tell a dog person and I clearly give off a dog vibe.
Likewise, I rarely have problems with dogs showing aggression towards me.

And I really think that is, because I think more like a dog than most people do.

I think what kind of rammed all this finally home- if I didn't already know it deep down- was something that happened at work yesterday. I don't believe in mindless violence, I think that's clear. I don't get into fights, I've not been in one for years.
But I can be very confrontational and to be honest I do do a lot of 'facing people down'.

Bearing in mind I'm a 5ft7, 10 stone waif like figure you might wonder how I get away with it.
I guess because most people have good instincts. Most people recognise the character type even though they don't know it. They can figure it out.

Because it's that difference between monkey anger and carnivore anger. Most people get angry like monkeys do, its all bluster and noise making.
What they call red-faced anger.

Mine is white-faced. That's how a dog gets angry. Carnivore angry.

Because carnivores attack when the adrenalin is pumping.

If you push a dog too far, it will take your hand off.

What happened at work yesterday, was that it was a long day. And I'm trying with less success than I'd hope to quit smoking.
We have a new guy at work who has a slight attitude problem. In fact, the subject came up at the pub a week or so ago. It was mentioned in jest it would only be a matter of time before he got smacked by someone.

He picked the wrong day to make a jibe under his breath which I probably wasn't meant to hear but did. I could feel the eruption inside, but let it simmer. To the outside world, I probably still looked unreadable.

Anyway, half an hour later I was talking to Dizzy when I heard him say something again, more sarcy comments...

What happened next is interesting. Interesting, because I'm not a person who indulges in violence. Not a person who has developed a habit of using violence as a response. What happened was an instinctive primal response, and the fact that it WAS my response is quite sobering.
Because it was done totally without any thought entering the process. I didn't myself actually realise how I'd responded until my boss, who sympathised and admitted he'd been tempted to give him a good hiding himself, told me in the car park, where we went through it, exactly how dramatic the response had been.

I had marched over to his desk, clasped one hand around his face so that my thumb and index finger were squeezing his cheeks and physically lifted him out of his seat by his face and pinned him against the wall. I had then stared him in the eye and snarled 'One more piece of lip out of you and I'll fucking batter you. Are we clear?'

I hadn't shouted. I had said it in my normal tone. Just with an edge. Move an inch and I'll hit you.

This happened so fast, I didn't have time to think.
But that's how I react when people push me over the line.

The reaction of a wolf, not the reaction of a monkey.

Would I actually have hit him? No, I don't think so. Not in the circumstances.
I didn't need to. Judging by what my boss said, I had him pretty much immobilised. He couldn't have hit me. And he was making what a behaviour expert calls 'submission gestures'.

But had it been the wild? Had I not had a rational brain in my head conditioning me to understand the consequences of my actions, a rational brain that ultimately would know when this little display had achieved its purpose?
Or if he had attempted to lash back at me?

Being really brutal, physically speaking, though obviously not speaking about what I myself would ever do in reality, but physically speaking, I was in a position to actually kill him. Had he moved a limb, my other hand was pretty much free to puncture his throat.

That of course, is as far as it ever gets with me. But you do realise that though you're a long way from the psychopath, you're formed from the same type that he's formed from. You're both dogs. Just he's a mistreated Rottweiler and you're by and large a Beagle.

Unlike the Primate, when you bite, you bite to disable your opponent.

And it's instinctive. Because there I was, yesterday afternoon, a 5ft7, 10 stone waif.

Pinning another man against a wall by his face.

Without thinking about it. Those instincts were primal. It was a carnivore marking his territory, asserting his dominance.

I'm not proud of it. Some would say it's inexcusable behaviour. It's perhaps not socially acceptable. In my defence I'd like to point out, it's not a common occurrence. If it was, then I doubt people would tolerate it. The fact that it is so rare and only happens under extreme provocation does suggest that most people who witness these things tend to see it as if not acceptable, at least being understandable and forgivable, in the circumstances.

My boss, the famous Gecko, was sympathetic and made it clear I had his backing on the subject. He made he clear he didn't approve of the display, but also made clear that the the reaction was understandable. He knows me well enough to be able to put such displays in context and know that if I ever do react that way, there's a sound reason behind it.

Because he knows I'm not actually a psycho. Many has been the time when we've been out drinking I've had to calm him down and move him away from confrontation.

But as he says '------ger, you have to remember, I know I can have a bit of banter with you and I know the limits, because I know you. And you know what it's like here. Everyone pushes the limits in banter- and you're the same. I understand he's got a bit of an attitude and he pushes it. I almost banged him out the other morning. But we can't be doing it. Not in the office. Actually pinning him up against the wall was overstepping the mark. Let's just pretend it never happened. And apologise to him. Cover your back. If you've apologised, than you're covered and I'm covered.'

I guess I can see how early man faced the sabre tooth tiger and won. It really is in us.
And it has both negative and positive points.
And I guess I know that that side does lie within me. But I also know something else.

So much of what I am, so many of my positive characteristics, indeed every one I live by, every one that I take pride in, every single characteristic I have that people list as my good points, they come with that. Creative thinking, charisma, strong bonding, good communication, strong strategic thinking, a certain type of spatial intelligence and a strong eye for patterns, loyalty, all these, they are the virtues of the dog.

I'm a monkey who thinks like a wolf.
A monkey who emotes like a wolf.

I think the challenge mankind needs to come to terms with is how we all deal with that.

Because it really is an amazing blend that has changed the dynamics of life itself.

But the sort of thing I did in the office yesterday is the sort of thing that can lead to some pretty MAD things.


MAD, as in Mutually Assured Destruction.

So we got to figure this stuff out really.
And figure out a world in which we're all a lot nicer to eachother.

Before there's no one around to be nice to.


Anonymous said...

Yikes it sounds like a knee jerk reaction - something you did not think of until after it had happened - it has me considering my son and his fighting the otehr day and how he came about doing something I thought I had raised him not to do - but then that would mean I had some sort of control in his life outside of the home and - I am just the mom! I really liked this post - it has me thinking and considering all of the possibilities of my family members and fellow dog lovers.


Anonymous said...

Hmmmm....very interesting!

Anonymous said...

I thought this post was really very good...Have you ever heard of Women who Run with the Wolves?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote a book that changed the way I felt about being a girl... it's a special book to me.
She likens women to female wolves and says we share certain fundamental characteristics such as intense loyalty to their young and mate - intuition - fierce protective traits to loved ones...a sense of fun and play. When a woman is herself and she is free to exist in the world without boundaries then she will be a lot like a healthy female wolf. It sounds kooky while writing it all down but there is a great lot of wisdom in it.

Anyway...this was very interesting.
And the bloke probably deserved to have some sense tapped into him.

Anonymous said...

As much as we like to think we are in control, there will be times when it only takes one thing to push us to react the way you did. May not have been appropriate but I understand that it does happen and as you say, is not a common reaction from you.

Anonymous said...

Cat- I think knee-jerk reaction is probably the best way to describe it. Of course again, it's interesting just how tight the instincts are.

Clearly I have instincts which know when they can and can't afford such displays, and also when another mode of acton is better suited. But ultimately I do think it is primal hunting instinct.

Perhaps when you think about it the really remarkable thing is that we manage to go the vast majority of the time without tearing eachother apart.

Mimi- I think it pays to try work these things out and understand them. Otherwise you can never hope to have control over them.
After all, we're supposed to at least aspire to be rational beings.

Kate- It would make sense.

I would say that the reason we emote to the dog is that being a tribal animal ourselves to begin with, adopting a carnivore lifestyl meant that the instincts we evolve are those we recognise in the wolf. Our minds have taken on many of it's characteristics, so there is empathy there. We understand the solitary felines less so.

I'm often amazed watching dogs and tyhe things they do. sometimes you can almost se them think. I maintain they're a lot more intelligent than people give them credit for.
Quite often they tackle problems in ways that are almost human.

And in their intreractions and approaches to nurturing too, I think.

I hate to say anyone deserves it, but I guess I'd say he didn't NOT deserve it. After all, he didn't get hurt just probably a little shocked for a few minutes.

He didn't get any sense tapped into him, but I think in time, that is a fate that probably awaits him somewhere...

Nunyaa- I know. I'm not condoning it, but it is of course, a part of our wiring.

We can't always be the people we'd like to be every second of the day. We're rational animals, but animals all the same.

Anonymous said...

Monkey! Used to be my favourite tellyprog at one point of childhood... did you watch the re-issues on latenight Channel 4 a few years ago?... aparently they found a few extra episodes never screened with the original series and managed to find the original voice over for that inimitable "Monkey is Funky" Chinese/Japanese accent.

I always found Trippy-kanta or whatever they were called rather odd. Aparently a woman playing a young boy..? Or something..???

Anonymous said...

He picked the wrong day to make a jibe under his breath which I probably wasn't meant to hear but did. I could feel the eruption inside, but let it simmer. To the outside world, I probably still looked unreadable.

How Gay - a subliminal hate-rage.

A way of dealing with intense intimidation without realizing the cause. And then looking for a plausable definition for the anger: 'Homowolf'.

A real man would have been objective and recognised this bitch tutting under his breath was simply his weakness to face his own issues. This is his problem that will eat him up if you ignore him. Everyone else recognised it.

But he got to you. Switched off your conscious brain cells... and you went into becomming one of the 'victim culture' band of the X-Men: Wolfman.

Only a wimp says "Cheer or Curse, it's up to you" like 'turn the other cheek' and they they kick you in the butt.

You invite people to take advantage of you. That's your problem, and it ends up the same way.

Now you have shown you can't cool it, some will take further advantage until you get yourself into further trouble trying not to get angry, and the others will be traumatised by your show of uncontrolled violence and submit to your being the biggest bully.

A homosexual is able to associate anything to his taste and would have easily found a put-down at the end of his tongue. Wolfman, that being recognised easily by other emotional seven year olds takes his cue by his fist.

Nothing was solved, and the little fear that retribution may be had another day.

There is a way to find out how people push your buttons, that by reacting and not responding you are not free. But do you want to know? Because to many what I have written is offensive as they emotionally attach to something they fear and give life to. I will kill the wolf inside if you wish.

Anonymous said...

I think that given the right set of circumstances we all succumb to knee jerk reactions like the one you have just described. I know I have, not proud of it, none the less I am still guilty.

P.S: If I pinned someone up against the wall here at my work, I would have been escorted out of the building.

Anonymous said...

Nooooo. It's because you're a short-arse, lolol!
Ask anyone who's been in the army and they'll tell you that the absolute worst PTI's are the short ones. They're bastards. And take women...get a petite woman angry and believe me you'll know about it. They can be so damn fierce.

Anonymous said...

(1) I read an article recently about how man bred wolves many years ago into the creature we've come to know as canis domesticus. It's a really interesting piece. If I can find it somewhere, I'll send it to you.

(2) The US Army did a study in the early-1940s to determine which soldiers could actually kill without any military indoctrination. At that time, the figure was about 7%, thus validating your observation that a minority of us are equipped to kill on our own. In a similar study done around the turn of the century, the researchers found that the number had risen to approximately 40%.

That still doesn't invalidate the premise you advance here, though. After all, it's a volunteer army we're talking about. And people who would have a predisposition to kill another person might find the army an attractive option, for they could do so without worrying about the legal ramifications.

It could also mean, however, that our society has become increasingly militaristic, or that American society has become more militaristic. I'd love to know of similar studies in the British military.

(3) That dogs might feel the instincts of carnavorism might not be that surprising, for humans have the ability to abstract thought, to place oneself in the position of the prey. Dogs are quite intelligent, and show signs of minimal sentience at times. But that's way beyond their ken.

(4) Forgive me, but I'm somewhat amused by your reaction to your co-worker, and your boss' reaction to you. You think a good deal. But ometimes, man proves to himself that he is still an organism reacting to stimuli. Yes, the stimuli can be quite abstract (speech, in this case). But it's still stimuli.

I'm glad you didn't get the sack.

Anonymous said...

Gledwood- Yes, I did- it was a hursday night, I remember.
I used to go the pub and then get a Chicken Tikka an Naan kebab and settle down to watch Monkey with a big spliff.

The series was made to teach children the Tripitaka legend.
Tripitaka was the Chinese boy monk who trekked to Gandara in India to bring back the texts of Buddhism. on the way he met the monkey spirit, Hanuman. And they became friends.

As for Piggsy, God knows...

Kinderling- Not sure quite what sexuality has to do with it. Being gay has buger all to do with masculinity or lack thereof.

The environment I work in is actually largely about pressing buttons. It's an environment where dominance and status battles are the norm.
Like it or not, when you work in that sector, every working day contains an element of shouting at colleagues, facing them off and standing your ground, because there's a whole lot more cock ups going round then people holding their hands up to them, and if you're not careful you might find yourself carrying bucks you don't want to be carrying.

It's a testerone driven sector.

Yes, it can be bloody confrontational, but I'm not sure I'd do anything else. Unless it was writing.

I need the wolf, thankyou- he pays my bills :)

Aunt Reeny- It's rare I do totally flip. I don't think I've ever gone quite that far in the office, but I can think of three other occasions in my working life where I have stood up and threatened to- a face off, if you like.

Someone else said that to me, and I can see that in a lot of sectors. But in Sales, it's kind of seen as more normal. It's asccepted you're employing a load of people of a cetain character type and you're having them based in the same building, all in contact with eachother in times of stress.
It's a powder keg, and every so often a fuse gets lit. It happens.

Ginro- Possibly. I guess I had to learn young to stand my ground. And I always have done.

A lot of people don't notice quite how small I am till they're standing next to me, in fact. I often find people say 'I've just noticed how TINY you are'.

I like petite women though, it has to be said...
You can forgive a woman anger, if she does it in a cute way.

Not into loud, bolshy women though.

X-dell- Yes, it's interesting in that it shows how long we've kept dogs.

About 40,000 years- compared to just 4,000 years since the Egyptians took on the cat.

In fact, I believe the Dingo counts as a diferent species again- which shows how long we've kept them.

I would guess a lot of psychoapths do get drawn into the army.

But I also believe that thee is a much larger group- what i call here the wolf thinker, and which I see myself as being in the direction of, who aren't people who desire to kill, but have the instincts of the predator.

The best way I can describe it is by explaining my own experiences of paintballing.
After a few minutes, a motor clicks. Your whole perception alters. And being realistic, it's because the hunter has kicked in.

Your reactions have speeded up. You receive more data, visually and audially. But everything feels calm. You are calm, inside. Yet reacting with lightning speed. And you don't care. You really don't care if you get hit. You just want to pump that trigger.

That's the closest I can get to conceptualising it.

The British Military...

In some ways, I think our military is prob more brutal than any in the world.
It's not the done thing to denigrate in any way over here, for the simple reason it has a good record, both in not committing atrocities that too many people noticed unless they lived in Ireland and at winning.
The second point is probably key...

It is an efficient fighting force. But I think that has a toll on those in it.

A high proportion of those I've met after they left - the regulars as oposed to the officers- really have difficulty adapting to civilian life.

I think people and dogs can relate a lot more than people realise.

My own observations are that it isn't true they don't respond to words, just tone.
Whilst they obviously can't talk, I'm sure they can learn a couple of hundred words at least. And they do understand human emotions. The dog always knows when you're down.

I miss having a dog, actually.

Well, it's not my usual reaction. I rise above a lot that others don't. Dizzy always says she thinks I'm generally unbelievably tolerant.

But most people grade gradually towards anger. I don't. I just move from one to the other.

My boss knows me. Generally speaking, he plays fair with me and I play fair with him.

It's a pragmatic sector in that regard. Pay your way, is the key.
Do that, and you get the leeway you've earned.

Anonymous said...

How did I get to feature so big in this post?

Anonymous said...

The dog approach to life. If you cant eat it or fuck it. Piss on it.

Anonymous said...

Anger is an odd emotion. I don't experience it very often, and I am not a big time reactor... but I certainly have an odd time shaking it. It sort of follows me around, and just agitates me more than my usual tactics don't work to soothe me. It is understandable, in some ways, how it does seem to be the most uncontrollable of emotions-- it just doesn't let up.

As an aside, I just uploaded that video onto my computer via my digital camera. There is a button on the top of the Compose box in Blogger that looks like a film strip- click that to upload it to a post.

Another aside--- have you read Ismael by Daniel Quinn? The first half of this post reminded me of it. If not, you should. In some ways, a lot of it will probably seem pretty obvious to you at this point in your life. However, when I read it at around 21, it put a lot of what I knew to be true, but hadn't quite formulate, into words.

Anonymous said...

Not sure quite what sexuality has to do with it. Being gay has buger all to do with masculinity or lack thereof.
I'm merely writing about the alter-ego; that persona believed because it's how people cope. A split personality.
A child may find comfort rejecting his masculinity to survive a mother who hated men. It was the only way he could get her approval and not be neglected. The environment traumatised the child's consciousness to believe it was meant to be, by genes, a special few.
Homosexuals instantly recognise each other. So do wolfmen. All victims do.
And so do women, and they massage this weakness they call strength for what they get in return.

Anonymous said...

u didn't. Wow... but then again, cant say I'm suprised. I kinda figured u dont get loud and crazy when u get mad, but more morph into a predator.

Wolves & monkeys, well can see how that makes sence. But me, have always been told I have more cat-like creatures... Am I that almost extinct sabre tooth tigress then?

Anonymous said...

In the theme of Men are from Mars, Women from Venus, men are like dogs and women are like cats.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but LOL @ Mutley and Ginro

Anonymous said...

What a delightful article. So solid and well-constructed. I kind of wish you'd edit out some of the more personal stuff and trade it to a magazine for a fat paycheck.

It seems that all the most useful pursuits of knowledge and insight eventually boil down to the miracle of our constant evolution. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

Homo sapien's speciality is that he doesn't specialise.

Anonymous said...

The history of man and wolves is both complicated and facinating. Well done...

Anonymous said...

Ah, I'm surprised no one brought it up yet, but this assertion:

Not Primates. Primates live in trees and eat berries. They are curious, exploratory and highly emotional. They care for eachother and protect each other in a way that is unique, even for mammals.

upon which much of the rest of your thesis is based is not the whole picture.

While not totally false, you left out social behavior that includes raiding and cannibalizing other troops of primates for their resources (fertile females, food, territory, etc), killing offspring to throw the mother into estrus again, stimulus-response anger and violence, and testosterone-fueled bachelor herds that essentially rape and pillage (not being anthropomorphic here, for there certainly is consensual and non-consensual copulation in the animal kingdom).

At any rate, give the monkey-thinking credit or discredit where it is due, it's not a wolf-y way of thinking, you reacted with base human emotion.

Anonymous said...

Mutley- You ate lots of Scooby snacks?

And aren't people much the same?

Oh no, we blog on it sometimes...

Princess P- What I don't like it, is how it can just appear like a flash.

I don't get angry that often, but I can be quite snappy, if people interfere or annoy me.

I did find the strip, yes. What I'm now trying to work out is where videos I upload to the PC vanish too. No idea where they get saved. Some day I'll actually have to read the user guide to Vista.

If I knew where I put it. This flat is a bit like a Rubik's cube. You move stuff, you move other stuff with it.

I've not, I don't read much these days, in fact I have a backlog of books friends have read and passed on to me, which I'm told I'd enjoy.

I have heard it mentioned though.

Kinderling- You're suggesting that being gay is an acquired condition, furthermore that it is somehow 'feminine'.

And there's a hint that you think there's something wrong with being gay.

I'm not sure such black and white perceptions of gender identity and human sexuality are the best picture available to us in the modern age.

Crashie- Pretty much, yes. When I'm angry I often become quite decisive, in many ways.

Most Felids hunt alone- hence the fact we are less attuned to them. We don't quite relate to their hunting instincts.

As for Sabre tooths, well we don't know. They weren't in fact members of the Felid family. No one knows HOW they hunted.

Ginro- They are, I suppose. Though I don't know, some are vixen...

And from time to time one finds the odd black widow spider creeping around...

Nunyaa- No need to apologise. This isn't a public library :)

FWG- The evolution of human emotions is, I believe, something not yet even started on by biologists.

But let's be honest, they evolved. All human feeling evolved and evolved for a reason. I touched on this in my notorious 'Inner Monkey' and 'Inner Reptile' posts which were either a great conceptual duet, or the most scurrilous thing ever put online, depending on your point of view.

But our emotions have a pedigree, and I think biologists in the decades to come will analyse their evolution inj greater depth and by doing chenical and hormonal comparisons between species be able to tell us a lot more about the actuall FEELINGs of animals and how they evolved by natural selection.

E-K- We are KIND of specialised. I don't see that many other species online...

It's just that it's a niche pretty well protected, except from the dangers of our own stupidity.

The idea that specialised is always a bad thing, is of course, not strictly true.

Mammals were pretty specialised until luck came their way. It just panned out that being a burrowing creature was a good thing to be around that time.

Budd- I've often wanted to actually play with a real wolf. I've often wanted to get out of the car in the safari park and go up to them. I've heard and read many places that they're not dangerous if you handle them right. And after all, our ancestors did.

Helen- Oh, I agree.

I actually left that out on purpose, I felt it would complicate the broasd fact of being equipped for the job of predatory killing.

Primate violence is generally of a more squalid variety, as you say, rape, cannibalism, bullying eachother, etc.

In fact, there's much about primates that is quite disturbing.

For example, did you know that there is only one Primayte species aside from man, where males cannot detect the normones a female gives off to say she is fertile?

That's the Orang Utan. And experts say it is because Orangs don't ask- they just take. So male Orangs don't care if she's receptive.

The implications of that for the history of human evolution are disturbing indeed.

Yes, its a base human emotion, anger.
But where do we get it? And why?

I'm simply taking Morris a step furtrher here. He distinguishes betwen red faced and white faced anger, I was exploring the evolutionary dynamic behind them.

Quite a lot of our instincts are in fact, radically different to most primates, it shows just how long e've ben predators.

For example, even our toiletery habits. Primates don't care where they go. No reason too. But instinctive meat eaters do. They go off away from the others. They know their waste must be kept away from the young, if it can be.

Anonymous said...

There is certainly an element of the wolf about we humans as well as the primate of course... we certainly have more in common with wild relatives of dogs than we do with wild relatives of cats!

Anonymous said...

On the other hand wolves are not spiteful and do not have the capcity for evil that we have.

Anonymous said...

"And from time to time one finds the odd black widow spider creeping around..."

LOL! Too true.