The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal

The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal

Desmond Morris

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0385334303

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This work has become a benchmark of popular anthropology and psychology.

Zoologist Desmond Morris considers humans as being simply another animal species in this classic book first published in 1967. Here is the Naked Ape at his most primal in love, at work, at war. Meet man as he really is: relative to the apes, stripped of his veneer as we see him courting, making love, sleeping, socializing, grooming, playing. The Naked Ape takes its place alongside Darwin’s Origin of the Species, presenting man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape, remarkable in his resilience, energy and imagination, yet an animal nonetheless, in danger of forgetting his origins. 

With its penetrating insights on mans beginnings, sex life, habits and our astonishing bonds to the animal kingdom, The Naked Ape is a landmark, at once provocative, compelling and timeless.

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will stem from the fact dial his culturally operated advances will race ahead of any further genetic ones. His genes will lag behind, and he will be cdnstandy reminded diat, for all his environment-moulding achievements, he is still at heart a very naked ape. At diis point we can leave his past behind us and see how we find him faring today. How does die modern naked ape Origins 49 behave? How does he tackle die age-old problems of feeding, fighting, mating, and rearing his young? How much has

social pressures to experience our earliest sexual rewards in homosexual or masturbatory contexts, then certain elements present in these contexts are likely to assume powerful sexual significance of a lasting kind. (The more unusual forms of fetishism also originate in this way.) One might expect these facts to lead to more trouble than Sex The Naked Ape actually occurs, but two things help to prevent this in most cases. Firstly, we are well equipped with a set of instinctive responses to the

left with nothing to explore, the zoo animal begins to express itself in the only way possible, by developing rhythmic stereotypes. We are all familiar with the repetitive pacing to-and-fro of the caged animal, but this is only one of the many strange patterns that arise. Stylized masturbation may occur. Sometimes this no longer involves manipulation of the penis. The animal (usually a monkey) simply makes the back and forth mastur- Exploration if- 145 batory movements of its arm and hand,

patterns we have been discussing, but not impossible. As I have already mentioned, when parents adopt this procedure towards their young children, it usually fails much more drastically than they realize. Between adults, however, who are much more preoccupied with the verbalized information content of the social interactions, it can be more successful. Unfortunately for the behaviour-liar, he typically lies only with certain selected elements of his total signalling system. Others, which he is

fists. Only in infants or very young children does biting play a significant role in unarmed combat. They, of course, have not yet been able to develop their arm and hand muscles sufficiently to make a great impact with them. We can witness adult un-armed combat today in a number of highly stylized versions, such as wrestling, judo and boxing, 174 The Naked Ape but in its original, unmodified form it is now rare. The moment that serious combat begins, artificial weapons of one sort or another

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