The morals of an ape

I interact on a daily basis with monkeys and apes, which just like us strive for power, enjoy sex, want security and affection, kill over territory, and value trust and cooperation. Yes, we use cell phones and fly airplanes, but our psychological make-up remains that of a social primate. Even the posturing and deal-making among the alpha males in Washington is nothing out of the ordinary.

In the New York Times, Frans de Wall discusses the evolution of cooperation and altruism. Along the way he raises a spirited defence of our innate sense of morality and, interestingly, of religion.

Update: August 13, 2014

I’ve just watched Frans de Wall’s TED talk, where he discusses the same subject. It worth watching if only for the fairness experiment they did with capuchin monkeys, which starts around 13 minutes.

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