Saturday, August 21, 2010

329. Some Thoughts on Evolution, Natural and Cultural: 13

I've returned from my trip and am now taking some time to research the sort of Bonobo vocalizations described by Frans de Waal, as quoted in my previous post. I've also been trying to find some clips of Bonobo "duetting" or "chorusing," but so far Google has let me down. I keep finding links to the singer who calls himself "Bonobo," which is no help at all. If we can trust de Waal, however, they perform vocal duets, and also group "choruses" in an interactive manner somewhat similar to what can be heard in certain types of African Pygmy and Bushmen vocalization. I've already presented some of my ideas regarding human-primate parallels of this sort in a series of earlier posts (see especially posts 21 et seq and 34 et seq), in the context of a discussion of the origins of music, but at this point I want to take things a step farther to consider the adaptational advantage of "musical" cooperation in the development of the earliest humans.

I must confess that my efforts to find good recordings, or videos, and more up to date literature on this topic, are taking more time and trouble than I'd anticipated, so this post is going to be unusually brief. I've found some interesting writings, but need more time to digest it all.

Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a link to this wonderful video lecture on Bonobos by Susan Savage-Rumbaugh, which will give you some idea of how extraordinarily intelligent they are.

1 comment:

Maju said...

Sure, the fact that bonobos and australopithecines are so similar is very revealing. Kinda knew that already but watching them walking with rather similar gait and watching bonobos make tools and drawing symbolic language reminds us that somehow our roots are there.

Bonobos are just great. I hope they survive forever. They are not just informative but also a very hopeful self-referent for our species.