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Survival of the Friendliest

Posted April. 10, 2023 07:51,   

Updated April. 10, 2023 07:51


‘Our lives should be measured not by how many enemies we have conquered, but by how many friends we have made. That is the secret to our survival.’

(A quote from ‘Survival of the Friendliest’ by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods)

Bonobos are a species of primates that may not look very different from chimpanzees at first glance. However, they share more genes with humans than with gorillas, and both species are said to have originated from a common ancestor approximately 1 million years ago. As a result, bonobos and chimpanzees are considered our two closest living relatives among primates. Brian Hare, an evolutionary anthropologist and one of the book's authors, explores how acts of kindness have helped survival throughout evolution and provide examples of various animals, including dogs.

Bonobos are known to never attack bonobos from other groups, let alone those within their own group, which starkly contrasts with chimpanzees. Chimpanzees often brutally kill competitors within their group to gain dominance. In contrast, it is fascinating to note that no cases of bonobos killing bonobos have been documented. Even when encountering unfamiliar bonobos from outside their group, they display unique friendliness and affinity, embracing and assimilating them. In this sense, they are better than humans. Looking at pictures of bonobos and chimpanzees, bonobos do indeed have a more friendly appearance.

Our current era is often called the age of survival of the fittest, where individuals must compete fiercely to live better than others and survive. I do, too. It's believed that this competitive nature is a key factor in mankind's ability to survive and evolve, an operating principle that the ‘selfish gene’ cannot go against. However, the author challenges this notion, arguing that it may not necessarily be the case. Today, I will focus on making friends rather than winning, believing that it could be my secret to survival.