RE: Re(2): Paper on chimp culture

Mark M. Mills (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:39:25 -0400

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:39:25 -0400
From: "Mark M. Mills" <>
Subject: RE: Re(2): Paper on chimp culture
In-Reply-To: <000901bec237$9ab07d00$35223fce@toshi>

At 06:59 AM 6/29/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Mark wrote:

><<Note that bonobos are smarter than common chimps. Their culture is female
>dominated. Additionally, bonobos are masters at solving inter-personal
>problems via sex. According to my model, this cultural style would enhance
>cognitive advantage because symbolic interaction subdues brute force. >>
>But we're smarter than bonobos and masters of CREATING interpersonal
>problems via sex. Just goes to show you, I guess.


It seems problems caused by sex are small compared to those caused by

Chimps are 4 times stronger than humans, pound for pound. Assuming chimps
approximate our mutual primate ancestor of 6 million years ago, 'becoming
weaker' provided a selective advantage to humans.

IMO, humans have gotten stronger 'as a group' while becoming weaker
individually because 'weak individuals' reduced the chance that genetic
advances in cognitive expression would be lost. Strong, violent
individuals can short circuit memetic replication (cogntive expression,
symbolic acquisition) in a fit of rage. The 'strong individual/weak memetic
replicator' evolutionary trajectory produces the gorilla. The 'weak
individual/strong memetic replicator' produces the human trajectory. IOW,
weak individuals provide a path for expression of primate cognitive
advantage, the memetic advantage.

Consider the average size of great ape groups. Chimp groups are rarely
exceed 60 individuals. Bonobo groups range grow to as high as 300
individuals. Humans groups are now in the millions. Humans are the weakest
individual, but strongest group. Humans have become so successful as
groups, they are likely to drive all other great apes to extinction. There
seems no environmental niche for alternative great ape evolutionary


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