Tag: altruism

Are Bonobos Altruistic?

By Chris Mooney | June 2, 2010 9:05 am

Vanessa Woods CoverThis is a guest post from Vanessa Woods, author of the new book, Bonobo Handshake. Vanessa is a Research Scientist in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and studies the cognition of chimpanzees and bonobos in Congo.

In my new book Bonobo Handshake, I talk about a bonobo called Mimi who throws herself over the dead body of another bonobo.

Lipopo was a seven year old bonobo who was new to the group. Mimi wasn’t particularly fond of him, she just kindof ignored him most of the time. When Lipopo died, Mimi stood over the body and wouldn’t let the keepers take him.

The keepers turned up with long poles to take the body away, a scary sight for any bonobo – they are usually quite shy. But Mimi would not give up the body. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Books

Are Only Humans Good Samaritans?

By Chris Mooney | June 1, 2010 7:04 am

Vanessa Woods CoverThis is a guest post from Vanessa Woods, author of the new book, Bonobo Handshake. Vanessa is a Research Scientist in Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and studies the cognition of chimpanzees and bonobos in Congo.

The following is a modified excerpt from Bonobo Handshake.

In 1988, a crane operator called Joe Honner was digging out telegraph poles on Darrell Tree’s farm in South Australia. Joe’s three-year-old son was sitting with him in the cabin while Joe maneuvered the crane.

Suddenly, the crane swung into live telegraph wires. Over nineteen thousand volts of electricity shot through the broken wires into the crane, which, being made of metal, was a superb conductor. Joe jumped clear, but his son was stuck in the cabin. Joe rushed forward to get his son, but he was held back by the farmer, Darrell. The little boy was fine, Darrell said, as long as he didn’t move. The electricity wound around the crane, creating a perfect circuit, but the leather interior of the cabin was untouched. The boy was frightened and started to cry. As Darrell turned to get a rope to rescue him, Joe rushed forward. As soon as he touched the crane, he tapped into the circuit and electricity shot through his body, arcing him backward and rooting him to the spot.

Darrell charged Joe, pushing him clear. Both of them were knocked unconscious. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Books
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