This conversation was recorded on September 1, 2021. I spoke to Richard Wrangham about his research on ape behavior. We explored prerequisites for chimp attacks, how cooking shaped human cognitive development, studying chimps in the wild with Jane Goodall, DNA similarity studies, proactive vs. reactive aggression, and more. Richard is a biological anthropologist at Harvard, specializing in the study of primates and the evolution of violence, sex, cooking, and culture. He’s also a MacArthur fellow—the so-called “genius grant”—and the author of books like 'The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution' and 'Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence.'
0:00 — Intro
2:39 — Jane Goodall
5:32 — Living in the wild
6:26 — Bumping into rhinos & sleep darting elephants
11:06 — Human competitiveness & sexual behavior
16:13 — "An enormous shock" from Yale
23:48 — Working with Jane Goodall
26:42 — Chimp mating habits
34:47 — Bonding via cooking
41:39 — Checking self-bias
42:26 — War and the 8-vs-1 rule
49:02 — Why kill lone neighbors?
56:41 — Cooking is really about calories
1:02:51 — The greatest discovery in human evolution
1:06:35 — Why do animals prefer it cooked?
1:10:05 — Fire & human development
1:12:16 — Innate violence, authoritarianism, and The Goodness Paradox
1:23:43 — Male aggression
1:42:01 — Outro
#Fire #JaneGoodall #War #Apes #Cooking #Harvard
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