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The Egalitarians - Human and Chimpanzee: An Anthropological View of Social Organization
This innovative book challenges the perceived view, based largely on long observation of artificially fed chimpanzees in Gombe and Mahale National Parks, Tanzania, of the normal social behavior of chimpanzees as aggressive, dominance seeking, and fiercely territorial. In polar opposition, all reports from naturalistic (nonfeeding) field studies are of nonaggressive chimpan ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published August 22nd 2005 by Cambridge University Press
(first published September 26th 1991)
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Recently, I’ve bumped into writing that asserts in a matter-of-fact way that prehistoric human beings (hunter-gatherers and before) were egalitarian by nature and that various social ills stem from culture (e.g., economic surplus creates inequality). Power’s book is on this topic. It also reflects the deeper nature-nurture debate between anthropologists who favor the effects of culture and evolutionary theorists who favor biology. The author’s thesis is that our most closely-related relatives, t ...more
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