The Naked Ape
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The Naked Ape

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  4,536 ratings  ·  252 reviews
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, s...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 31st 2005 by Vintage Books (first published 1967)
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Erik Graff
Sep 19, 2011 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: very old people
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sciences
This was one of the most upsetting books I have ever read. Fifteen years of age, I approached Morris with a vague, general interest in animals, i.e. zoology. His book was popular and available in the Park Ridge public library where I read it.

Fifteen and never been kissed. Well, that is not quite true. In first grade I was kissed by Lisa. That happened in her garage up Butte Lane from our house in the Meadowdale development. It was, it is unforgettable. A willowy blonde, she wore a powder blue sm...more
People are animals. Our behavior has evolutionary roots-- even many behaviors we define as cultural have their basis in our prehistoric dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-sexiest past.
There, that's the thesis-- perfectly sound and very interesting.
The book falls apart in the details though-- sweeping generalizations and odd assumptions about sexual behavior and gender roles and cultural supremacy without any supporting proof. Just ideas and theories that seem almost comically colored by the author's...more
Ronald Wise
Reading this book again after 37 years, I was pleasantly surprised at the relevant impact this book still has. Perhaps reading it after nearly four decades of experience as a member of its target species, more points in it seemed to ring true. There are probably some aspects of this book which have been called into question by subsequent research findings, but in general the materials on the human evolutionary biology and psychology I've read in the meantime seem to support Morris's positions.

Tanja Berg
When I stumbled across this book last week and promptly down-loaded it to my kindle, I did not realize it had been first published in 1967. Some of the views are decidedly antiquated. For example that men go to work in attempt to satisfy the hunting urge together with other men, while women stay at home and take care of the children. In most of the Scandinavian countries, as large a percentage of women as men are now an active part of the work force. The superficial treatment of homosexuality an...more
The Naked Ape is my favourite book, ever. If The Naked Ape was a person I would marry it in a heartbeat under whatever terms it wished, and I would be more than happy to give my body over to producing as many of its children as I could because a book like this deserves to bear children more than most of us do.
Desmond Morris is an Anthropologist, and the person that made me decide that I, too, would like very much to be an Anthropologist, and The Naked Ape is a study of the Human Being as an ani...more
Morris makes a great song and dance about the 'outrage' with which his book was first received. Why are people so resistant to contemplating, in the cool light of scientific 'objectivity', their 'animal nature'? However, Morris' claim to neutrality is highly suspect; he urges us to learn from and accept the picture he presents of human beings, saying

'homo sapiens has remained a naked ape... in acquiring lofty new motives, he has lost none of the earthy old ones. This is frequently a cause of emb...more
Desmond Morris' "The Naked Ape" is not a quality book for individuals seeking to understand the nature of modern evolutionary psychology. Morris' work is notable only for being a historical perspective into the origins of a discipline which has (since his book) taken on a dynamic and vibrant academic life. If one can manage to make it past some of the glaring errors in his work (at one point he suggests that women evolved a trait because it was evolutionarily better for men - 'Uh, Desmond? Evolu...more
If you like your science with a heaping dose of sexism and homophobia, then this book's for you!

This book was so entirely awful that I thought less of the person who recommended it to me.

One doesn't pick up this sort of book looking to 'get off' but let me tell you (!) the opening chapters on sexuality are very arousing. I had to stop reading and satisfy my er, appetite several times before moving on to the next chapters. If only to stimulate yourself without anyone catching on--or while posing as erudite or whatever-- this book is terrific.

Otherwise, sure he makes many interesting points about the biological basis for certain of our human tendencies--and I appreciate his attemp...more
I spent a year in Marbury, a non-authoritarian school modelled on Summerhill. It was all too weird for words. Next time any of you wonder why I don't know what continent Spain is in, or why places that are further away have times that are closer or...keep in mind that my geography text book for the year was The Naked Ape.

Well, I say it was that sort of school like it's to blame for my appalling ignorance of geography. If only I'd chosen a normal school instead. But truth be told, the next year...more
This book astonished people 40 years ago and inspired all that psuedo-scientific "men are hunters, women are gatherers" crap, or so I'm told.

It's aged badly. The author comes across as pretty full of himself -- he thinks his way of analyzing human behavior (from a zoological perspective) raises him above bias, but he's amusingly unaware of his own biases -- misogyny, homophobia, and anti-psychiatry, to name a few.

It's still got some interesting parts, I guess, but I could only make it about hal...more
I would have given "The Naked Ape" a 4-star rating based on its handling of human evolution and animal behavior, unfortunately 1960's style moralizing creeped in and caused me to lower my rating to a 3. The boomer generation was really annoying in how they viewed themselves as saviors to the planet when they were really just as selfish and materialistic as their parents (and less moral and responsible). Even with those reservations, the descriptions of human and animal behavior and human evoluti...more
Arturo Javier
Una excelente introducción a la sociobiología. Las hipótesis que propone el autor a veces pueden parecer descabelladas, pero si continuas leyendo, te das cuenta de que tienen mucho sentido. Los apartados más divertidos son aquellos en los que el autor explica el comportamiento sexual, la evolución de los caractéres sexuales, y la eterna lucha entre los sistemas simpático y parasimpático.
Studying the nature of the human race as an anthropologist would study a group of apes is as informative as it is hysterical. And the added bonus of being written with overtones of an impending Cold War made the book even more enjoyable.
Per tutto il libro Morris si riferisce a noi (da intendersi come esseri umani) con l'epiteto di scimmioni nudi e direi che tutto sommato è azzeccatissimo. Come zoologo lo scrittore si propone di identificare quali siano i comportamenti che hanno permesso all'essere umano di sopravvivere e anzi di emergere come specie dominante su tutte, nonostante delle sue diciamo "pecche fisiche" sostanziali. Ne emerge un quadro anche divertente sulla sensualità dell'essere umano, unica specia di scimmia ad es...more
Derek Bridge
The conceit of this book is to cast a zoologist's eye over the human species, reporting its behaviour as we would any other species. It can be disconcerting in places, but always interesting. The argument is that humans reveal today, irrespective of layers of reason and culture, our inherent natures as a fruit-eating, forest-dwelling social ape turned carnivorous hunter on the savanna.

On the other hand, it's not clear how much of this populist treatment is rooted in real science. All too often,...more
Luis Soria
Para ser honestos, este es el primer libro de divulgación científica como tal que he leído. Me gustó este libro por que me ayudó a comprender muchos de los aspectos del comportamiento de nuestra especie y teorías (aunque expresadas como hechos) sobre fundamentos. En la era en la que vivimos, inconscientemente, todos sabemos que nuestro comportamiento y nuestro estilo de vida citadíno es, de alguna forma, poco natural. Consideramos (o al menos yo) que el stress, la contaminación, la violencia, el...more
Jun 25, 2008 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to remember a time when the aquatic ape hypothesis was taken seriously
Shelves: biology, anthropology
I suppose all reviews of this book must open up with the fact that it is dated - considerably. Many of the speculations and theories put forward in the text have since fallen out of favor or been outright dismissed. But as with all science books from an older era, this is not the important part! The questions and insights raised about human nature far outweigh any omissions due to the inadequate science of the times.

What one can find fault with is several arguments and generalizations made about...more
Desmond Morris raises some interesting points in this book, some more farfetched than others. Honestly, I have problems with a lot of the points he makes in this book.

Attempting to explain everything we do by comparing us to our nearest relatives in the animal kingdom is like I said interesting but the truth is many of our behaviors are unique to our species because of our advanced intellect and I think simplifying them by saying they can be explained by looking at the behaviors of other primat...more
David O'brien
Fascinating reading and life affirming in an unexpected way. The most common complaint about this book is lack of evidence or proof. Morris states clearly that he did not list all the evidence because it would turn the book into an encyclopedia. There is a bibliography at the end for those who want to see where he got his information and inspiration.
The style of the book is not purely scientific in so far as he he makes assumptions and draws conclusions from his own experience and his research,...more
Mostaque Ahammed
We are very young species. We call us modern and inside us we are carrying 100 or thousand years of primitive habits with us. We've created nuclear bombs, but we can't prevent ourselves from close our eyes when a fly across our eyes. We have tremendous power and but we don't know how to use that, where to use that. We are sheep with a lion's claw. Lion knows very well the use of his dangerous claws, but sheep doesn't. He just got it overnight.

As a naked app, the nature is our very essential asse...more
I disagree with those who say this book is homophobic and/or misogynistic. Morris says some things that in normal conversational context might be dubbed as such, but his explicit purpose was to view mans behavior from an objective standpoint. He succeeds. Political correctness has no place in (even attempted) scientific writing. He DOES state that gay couples cannot procreate on their own. However he goes on to discuss scenarios where this may be a pro. Don't overreact.

When I read this book, I...more
كتاب ممتع في كل فصوله وهذا يعد امرا جيدا فقلما تجد كتاب يجذبك كل تفاصيله.
من الجيد ان تعلم كيف تطورت من كونك حيوان برى حتى اصبحت كما انت عليه ....
ممتع ان تعلم بعض الصفات التى تتشاركها مع الحيوانات ولكن باختﻵف اﻻسلوب.
بشكل او باخر ربما تتعلم امورا تميزك كانسان عن الحيوان ان اهملتها وافتقدقتها حينها قفصا في حديقة حيوان قد يكون كثير عليك.
تعامﻵتنا لها معانى ربما نفعلها باعتيادها لكن ان تفهم اسبابها امر جيد..
الخﻵصه ممتع ان تقرأ ...قمة المتعه ان تتعلم شيئا عن اﻻشياء...قمة السعاده ان تتعلم امرا عن نفسك.
Aseem Gupta
This book, partly scientific, partly historical and partly philosophical takes a look at the Human animal from a zoological perspective and asserts that a lot of our current behavior is rooted in our biological make-up. The author asserts that cultural indoctrination is a much weaker force and our biological instincts typically overrule it and invariably determine our behavior. In this context, he studies the man's origins, his sexual behavior, his feeding habits, rearing, fighting, his contact...more
Mario Sugus
No me gustó mucho. Puedo entender que en la época en que fue escrito representó un material de consulta importante, sin embargo me queda claro que parte de una visión reduccionista del ser humano, enmarcado en una ciencia más positivista. Hay varias cosas que no me gustó leer. Por ejemplo, al referirse a la homosexualidad Morris afirma que "si ciertos hábitos sexuales impiden el éxito reproductor, podemos calificarlos sinceramente de biológicamente inadecuados" Desde mi punto de vista la homosex...more
I found this book to be very disappointing. Morris makes some interesting statements about human behavior, but unfortunately, he has almost nothing that could be called evidence for anything that he poses as fact. Although at first I thought I might be unfairly judging it because his sexual politics differ from mine and his understanding of human sexuality is dated to say the least, his statements on non-sex-related behaviors are equally unsupported.
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Very fun and interesting. The chapter on sex is laugh out loud hilarious at many points. There are a few outdated ideas present which betray the year this was written (1967) but nonetheless Morris displays a fine understanding of evolutionary theory and animal behavior and applies it with wit and clear, concise language to our upright species.
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
I dont contradict the authors statement that humans are animals and that we share some of the same urges. But I question his research and the broad way he makes wild allegations as an effort to shock the reader.

Adrian Barrientos
Definitivamente de los mejores libros que he leido, una visión muy cruda, real y objetiva de lo que somos como especia. Demasiadas verdades que tal vez mucha gente no lo apreciara.
Juliette Mundy
Liking the book whole-heartedly does not mean accepting it as gospel.
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Desmond John Morris is most famous for his work as a zoologist and ethologist, but is also known as a surrealist artist and author.

More about Desmond Morris...
The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Study of the Urban Animal Catwatching Peoplewatching: The Desmond Morris Guide to Body Language The Naked Woman: A Study of the Female Body Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour

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“I viewed my fellow man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape.” 14 likes
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