Natures wonders: chimps cooperate, not compete (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 15:10 (1093 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: Frans de Waal, PhD, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes Research Center, a C. H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University and one of the study authors, adds, "It has become a popular claim in the literature that human cooperation is unique. This is especially curious because the best ideas we have about the evolution of cooperation come straight from animal studies. The natural world is full of cooperation, from ants to killer whales. Our study is the first to show that our closest relatives know very well how to discourage competition and freeloading. Cooperation wins!'"

David's comment: Chimps live in groups. If the prize is good enough they cooperate, and this must have carried over to the first hunter-gatherer human groups.

As usual, Frans de Waal has hit the nail on the head. It is what Shapiro calls “large organisms chauvinism”: some humans just cannot bear the thought that we are the inheritors, not the originators. I would add that bacteria also cooperate, and multicellular life depends on the cooperation of single cells forming communities, and on these communities also cooperating.


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