23 Following


Currently reading

The Lonely Sea: Collected Short Stories
Alistair MacLean
Her Benny
Silas K. Hocking
Vedere din Parfumerie
Silvia Kerim
Mysticism and Logic (Western Philosophy)
Bertrand Russell
The Analects of Confucious
Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking
William James
Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask
New Scientists Books Staff, New Scientist
Mutual Aid
Pyotr Kropotkin
City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi
Olivia Fraser, William Dalrymple
The Brothers Karamazov
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal

The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal - Desmond Morris I don't know what sort of re-packaged edition I read originally, but it was a short, coffee-table sized hardback, with full-sized, four-colour photos of women's pupils dilating. It seems men automatically find the same photo of a woman, but with larger pupils, more attractive. I thought I'd discovered a secret key to measuring womankind, in a kind of Cosmo version of The Naked Ape. A friend in school saw my book and got very excited, but the secret knowledge within, well, that was only for me.

Now that I've bought a steeply discounted paperback version, without the photos, Desmond Morris had said a great deal more, in a far better style, but with details which are remarkably less believable. I'd only recently started this book: [b:Brazzaville Beach|376789|Brazzaville Beach|William Boyd|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/book/50x75-a91bf249278a81aabab721ef782c4a74.png|366635], about chimpanzee researchers trying to hide growing suspicion of chimp cannibalism, so I was becoming slightly better informed about some of the harrier apes. According to Morris, chimpanzees are our closest genetic relatives.

Morris often repeats himself in a leisurely and comforting way, so it's indisbutable that he believes chimpanzees are largely peaceful, whereas mankind is not. Yet I wasn't surprised when, just yesterday, science magazines started discussing very high numbers of chimp-on-chimp killings, and how their fights can no longer be attributed to dwindling habitat.

The zoology/sociology in The Naked Ape is already becoming too positivistic, even for my taste. But I have to believe that Morris, as the Zoological Society's Curator of Mammals, should have known a lot more about actual apes before applying his claims to the naked ones.

Semi-final update: I'm going to admit that there are details in the chapter about sex, that if true, I did not know. It may even answer a critical question its thinking inspired. There is probably some Bulgarian demolition expert trying to pry the secrets from its shredded remains.

Original review:
You really do feel like a VIP guest in a glass wall safari of human nature. Hilarious that a man who watched fish fornicate for a year is somehow your guide.