Source: The Human Spark: "So Human, So Chimp"
Major funding for The Human Spark is provided by the National Science Foundation, and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the John Templeton Foundation, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, and The Winston Foundation.
Chimp Politics Transcript
ALAN ALDA: I’m starting with a man who has spent most of his career arguing that humans and chimpanzees are more alike than different. Frans de Waal plans to show me what he means with a group of chimps he knows intimately, here at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta. Frans has arranged for watermelons and coconuts to be set out so that we could watch chimpanzee politics in action.
FRANS DE WAAL Food grunts again, what you hear, huh, huh, huh.
ALAN ALDA Yeah, yeah. Now what’s he saying….
ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) Stewart, the alpha male of the group, immediately commandeers one of the watermelons… while a second big male starts devouring another.
FRANS DE WAAL His name is Skip. Two males, two big males there.
ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) The female chimps try to pester the males into sharing.
ALAN ALDA So far these two big males are not interested in sharing at all.
FRANS DE WAAL No, they’re not good at it, no. So he’s under pressure now with these females surrounding him. He’s going to display to show that he’s a big male. But they will surround him until he gives in.
ALAN ALDA When they surround him, they have no power over him except their request.
FRANS DE WAAL Yeah, yeah, yeah. There is some sort of political pressure also, like are you a nice male, can I trust you, will you share with me? And if males always say no, no, no, then whenever there’s ever a political fight with another male they’re not going to like that male and not going to support him.
ALAN ALDA (NARRATION) Skip jumps down and breaks his watermelon in two, allowing some of the females to share the bounty… and collecting brownie points for future power struggles with Stewart – who’s still resisting female entreaties.
Remembering who did what for whom, keeping score, trading favors – in the rich social life of chimpanzees Frans de Waal is convinced he can see many more similarities to human behavior than differences.
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