Archive for April 8th, 2009

Throw a girl a bone … ?

Anyone in doubt about the close relationship between chimpanzees and humans need only take a look at this bit of the BBC.

Chimpanzees enter into “deals” whereby they exchange meat for sex, according to researchers.

“By sharing [meat], the males increase the number of times they mate, and the females increase their intake of calories,” said Dr Gomes.

“What’s amazing is that if a male shares with a particular female, he doubles the number of times he copulates with her, which is likely to increase the probability of fertilising that female.”

Having observed chimps up close and personal for years, this comes as no surprise to me.

Many behaviors, including what could be called dating rituals, run obvious parallels between humans and chimps, so offerings akin to “Wanna join me for dinner, Babe?” are no less expected than clever innovations that make life easier or rival gang warfare.

For all our self-aggrandizment, our inclination to think ourselves smooth and sophisticated, lofty, above the baser instincts of “lesser” animals, when it comes down to it, we, too, are all about sex.

Not that we’re any more aware of what drives us than are the chimps … after all they, too, may attribute more to their motivation than a simple poke in the bush … but when push comes to shove, so much of our need to be loved, our desire for the perfect partner, even our facebook flirting facryinoutloud, arises from ancient genetic coding that hardwires us.

Basically it boils down to males needing to pass along their genetic material and females needing get something out of the deal that will allow them to reproduce; the rest is fluff.

Hail to the fluff, though, heh? A glass of Merlot is a nice touch …

By the way, the average copulation time for a male chimp is around 29 seconds, so the premature ejaculation issue I wrote about yesterday doesn’t seem to translate species to species. (Females are known to go 40 to 50 times a day, though, but they do save it up all month … )

Male orang utans, however, copulate much longer, even up to an hour or more. An aside: orang utans are only one of two primates that rape; humans being the other.

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