In October , Desmond Morris published his landmark study of human behaviour and evolution. Here four experts assess what he got right — and wrong. Its pitch was that humans really were just apes, and much of our behaviour could be understood in terms of animal behaviour and its evolution. Yes, we were naked and bipedal, but beneath the veneer of culture lurked an ancestral avatar. In the laid-back, blue-smoke atmosphere of the hippy era, the book struck a chord with the wider public — if for no other reason than that, in the decade of free love, it asserted that humans had the largest penis for body size of all the primates.
All rights reserved. On this trail near Mparangasi village, a boy fetching water pauses cautiously as chimps pass. Around some villages in western Uganda, small groups of chimpanzees survive in remnant strips and patches of forest. Deprived of wild foods, the chimps emerge to raid crops and cultivated fruit trees, competing desperately with people for sustenance, space, survival. Life was already hard enough for Ntegeka Semata and her family, scratching out a subsistence on their little patch of garden land along a ridgeline in western Uganda. They could barely grow food for themselves, and now a group of desperate, bold, crop-raiding chimpanzees threatened their livelihood, maybe even their safety.
The Naked Ape at 50: ‘Its central claim has surely stood the test of time ‘
These findings, reported in the Nov. Human men often prefer young women. One reason for this, scientists propose, lies in the human proclivity to form unusually long-term mating pairs. When combined with the natural urge to beget as many children as possible, since a woman's fertility is limited by age, men would find young women more sexually attractive.