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Creatures of Cain$
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Erika Lorraine Milam

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691181882

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691181882.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

Human Nature

Human Nature

(p.261) 15 Human Nature
Creatures of Cain

Erika Lorraine Milam

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the scientific revelations produced by Jane Goodall's studies on great apes and the effects these studies had on the contentious field of sociobiology. When Jane Goodall and David Hamburg argued for the biological similarities shared by humans and chimpanzees, they also articulated a vision of human nature. They based this vision on biological relatedness rather than on ecological sympathy and implicitly questioned the gendered roles and social hierarchies that characterized baboon behavior as the most appropriate primate model for reconstructing the social and behavioral norms that might have characterized early human life on the savannah. Goodall's early discoveries that chimpanzees manufactured tools, sticks with which to eat termites and masticated leaves with which to sponge up water, fit well with hypotheses that the origins of tool use lay in manufacturing aids for “gathering and processing food” rather than as weapons. But one of Hamburg's graduate students later recalled him warning her not to go overboard with sociobiology.

Keywords:   Jane Goodall, great apes, David Hamburg, sociobiology, gendered roles, social hierarchies, social norms, behavioral norms, human nature, chimpanzees

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