Tippy Jackson's Reviews > In the Shadow of Man

In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall
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's review
Jun 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: evolution, animalia
Read in November, 2009

Overall enjoyable. She does a good break down of chimp relationships. Some parts were sad. I will say that I think the manner of studying chimps by luring them to your camp with bananas is of course altering the very behaviors you're trying to objectively study. However, I do think she still gains a lot of valuable information and she is constantly asking the right questions. More than the answers, it is her never ending questions that I enjoyed. I also believe she has a good idea of how her set up is altering their behavior and distinguishes when and how she believes it is having an affect. There was a pretty interesting hypothesis on how human morals may have evolved. By watching chimps, Jane notice that there are 2 times when a more dominant male would not attack a subordinate male to get something; while it was eating meat and while it is preparing to mount a female. Instead they beg and wait their turn, respectively. This is probably because these things are very highly prized and the males are probably more likely to fight more aggressively to keep them. Perhaps the more dominant males are sensitive to the now less apprehensive lower ranking males and their aggressive signals, so they are more hesitant to assert themselves. Anyway, she has great commentary on the usefulness of her research as well. I could have done without the book's namesake chapter, as I feel it's best to provide the information and let me come to my own conclusions about the similarities to human behavior. I feel like her similarities are not always taken from a broad range of human behavior.

BTW, for some shameless self-promotion, if you like reading about animals, check out my blog on wildlife at http://backyardzoologist.wordpress.com/

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11/06/2009 page 24
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