Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

In chimp world, males find older females sexier…?

Posted by Chris on November 22, 2006

Chimpanzee males prefer to have sex with older females, U.S. researchers found in a study published on Monday that shows one of the biggest behavioral differences between humans and our closest biological relatives.

Male chimps will chase down and fight over the oldest females, while the youngest female chimps are forced to beg for masculine attention, anthropologist Martin Muller and colleagues at Boston University discovered…

They were checking to see if chimpanzees behave like humans, their closest living relatives, who form long-term mating bonds and who value younger females.

One of the biggest behavioral differences? What’s more different- males that prefer younger females and males that prefer older females, but all of whom want sex as much as possible, or chimpanzees that throw their poop and humans who find that to be pretty sick? I can think of some pretty big behavioral differences… I like to play guitar, chimps like to swing from trees…

“Normally, I think peoples’ default assumption is, ‘Well other animals, they must also find young females attractive,”‘ Muller said. “And people assume that young females are more fertile than older females.”

Who in the sam-hell thinks that? Who has a default assumption about what animals find attractive in other animals, besides primatologists with too much time on their hands? Have you ever been in public with your buddies and seen a couple pigeons and said, “Gee. I wonder what he sees in her, instead of the bird over there. Maybe it’s her plumage. Maybe she emits some stronger pheromones. Maybe she is more virile.” No! While we do like to personify our animal friends, I don’t think people do it quite to that degree- and most people i think are only kidding when they personify animals.

Humans may prefer younger females because of marriage and other “long-term pair-bonds,” something that is nonexistent in the promiscuous world of chimps. Human men seeking progeny may need to start with younger prospective mothers, Muller said.

I’m not saying this is wrong. It’s not the average response you would get from a room full of 25 year old guys, but i’m not saying they’re wrong. But i will say that it exposes two incorrect view of humanity. One, that we don’t live in a ‘promiscuous world.’ I see that as a similarity with chimps. I don’t mean that to be insulting, but aren’t we along with chimps two of the only, if not the only, animals in the entire animal kingdom who participate in sex for reasons besides procreation? I am pretty sure I read or saw that at some point in time. Two, that we are to be studied like chimps. These scientists are trying to reduce humanity to just another genus of animals that should be stripped down to its most basic elements and learned from. It ignores our uniqueness in the world. I think common sense speaks of that. It is self-evident to most people that we have something “they” don’t- ‘they’ being other animals. In addition, theologically I believe it is inconsistent with the thought that we are created “in our image”, the image of The Triune God; beings with a certain “it” factor, a “je ne sais quoi” that separates us from all the other animals. A moral blueprint; a united body, soul, spirit.

Before you think i’m totally out of my league here, I did study anthropology. As a discipline, it is WAY different than studying animal behavior. Maybe a colony of prairie dogs meets a basic definition of culture, but, there is a discernable and clear difference between animal culture and human culture. perhaps not in biological complexity, but in other ways.


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