By John Sorenson

Apes—to examine them is to work out a replicate of ourselves. Our shut genetic family members fascinate and unnerve us with their comparable habit and social character. right here, John Sorenson delves into our conflicted courting to the good apes, which frequently finds as a lot approximately us as people because it does in regards to the apes themselves.            From bonobos and chimpanzees to gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans, Ape examines the numerous methods those outstanding animals usually function types for people. Anthropologists use their habit to assist clarify our primary human nature; scientists make the most of them as matters in biomedical examine; and behavioral researchers scan with methods apes emulate us. Sorenson explores the demanding situations to the advanced department among apes and ourselves, describing language experiments, efforts to cross-foster apes by means of elevating them as human kids, and the moral demanding situations posed through the nice Ape undertaking. besides, Ape investigates representations of apes in pop culture, fairly movies and advertisements during which apes are frequently portrayed as human caricatures, monsters, and clowns.Containing approximately 100 illustrations of apes in nature and tradition, Ape will attract readers attracted to animal-human relationships and a person curious to grasp extra approximately our closest animal cousins, a lot of whom teeter close to extinction.

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In On the Origins and Progress of Language (1773–9), James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, proposed that no absolute border separated humans and apes. Comparing orangutans and feral children such as Peter the Wolf Boy, Burnett suggested that orangutans were human, lacking only capacity for speech. In 1769 Georges-Louis Leclerc, 54 Fitzinger’s apes, in a 19th-century illustration. Comte de Buffon’s Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière examined relationships between apes and humans and concluded that while apes physically resembled humans and acted like them in various ways, possession of a soul distinguished humans.

4 Nakajima Kaho (1866–1939), Gibbon Reaching for the Moon, ink on paper. In his ‘Poetical Essay on the Dark Gibbon’, Taoist recluse Wu Yun (d. 778) described the gibbon as a being who communed simply with nature. 5 Chinese artists, poets and philosophers expressed compassionate attitudes towards gibbons and condemned hunting them. Chinese paintings often associate gibbons with cranes. Gibbons’ long arms and the cranes’ long necks and legs indicate longevity and both creatures are appreciated for their graceful movements.

While some of Darwin’s ideas were adapted to fit the political context, resulting in the ever-useful notion of ‘survival of the fittest’, other aspects were more troubling. Suggestions of evolutionary links with living apes (still widely misunderstood as direct descent from those apes) disturbed more self-congratulatory notions of human uniqueness, a disturbance that still affects our own time. Just as Linnaeus feared religious persecution for classifying humans as part of the natural order rather than apart from it, Darwin fretted about being seen as a radical atheist insulting human dignity.

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