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The Soul Of The Ape

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  49 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Early this century Eugène Marais, journalist, lawyer, poet and natural scientist, travelled to the wild Northern Transvaal and lived for three years at close quarters with a troop of chacma baboons.

The Soul of the Ape is the record of his experiences and observations.
Lost for forty years, the manuscript was only recently discovered and Robert Ardrey, who dedicated his Afri
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Paperback, 171 pages
Published 1973 by Penguin (first published 1969)
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Cheryl
Jun 21, 2017 marked it as someday-elsewhere
David's review includes this:

"Phyletic memory is a kind of coded-in genetic ability to do things (like how homing pigeons can find home or ants can get back to the next), and causal memory is the ability to understand cause and effect and subsequently adapt behavioural patterns in response to what has been learned."

Could it be that the word intelligence could be substituted for the word memory in that sentence? If so, could it be that the concept of phyletic vs. causal intelligence could be used
...more
Sue
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not easy bedtime reading, but having enjoyed the movie about Eugene Marais, I wanted to give 'The Soul' a try. It was fascinating, if academic, with a long, effusive foreword by an admiring published fellow ethologist/zoologist. I will never be able to look at baboons again without remembering the underrated scientist and literary figure that EM was. His ground-breaking studies of the evolution of the primate brain received scant recognition in his lifetime although his work was plagiarised. The ...more
David Kenrick
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
The Soul of the Ape is an unfinished, unsatisfying work which is somewhat disingenuously marketed (by its blurb).

I remember walking out of the latest Planet of the Apes film (great fun) and wondering to myself whether or not apes could have a god. Did an ape religion of baffling intricacy exist completely unbeknownst to humankind? A Chimpanzee Christ? Gorilla gospels? Orang-utan oracles? I have a vivid imagination... anyway I forgot all about it five minutes later. Then, last month, in the Hay C
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Kallie
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: natural-history
This book was mind-altering. I had never read any work that attempted to understand animal behavior from the inside out. Marais lived near and observed baboons in their natural habitat for a very long time, which raises this above mere speculation and lab experiment. Marais was a poet as well, and this shows in his evocation of baboon spirit, and his poetic writing. I think this quality also raises The Soul of the Ape far above the usual animal behavior accounts. I intend to read this again and ...more
Silvia Lotman
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Translation to Estonian by Markus Vetemaa
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Marais ('mah-REH', silent s) was the thirteenth and last child of his parents, Jan Christiaan Nielen Marais and Catharina. He attended school in Pretoria, Boshof and Paarl and much of his early education was in English, as were his earliest poems.

After leaving school he worked as a legal clerk and later as a journalist before becoming owner (at the age of twenty) of a newspaper called Land en Vol
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More about Eugène N. Marais