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Sex and Gender Across the Primate Spectrum (Frans De Waal)

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Michael Shermer Logo  fiber_manual_record  May 26th, 2022

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The Michael Shermer Show # 274

What is gender? How different are men and women? Are differences due to biological sex or to culture? How do they compare with what is known about our fellow primates? Do apes also culturally learn their sex roles or is “gender” uniquely human?

Shermer and de Waal discuss: sex and gender in humans, primates, and mammals • who you identify as vs. who you’re attracted to • binary vs. nonbinary vs. continuum: how fuzzy can human sex categories be for a sexually reproducing species? • gender differences in physical and mental characteristics • why would homosexuality evolve? • chimpanzees and bonobos • what is the “purpose” of orgasms in women, nipples in men? • myths of the demure female • rape in humans and other primates: what is the purpose — sex, power or both? • murder, and human violence: how do men and women differ? • dominance and power • rivalry, friendship, competition and cooperation • maternal and paternal care of the young • same-sex sex • monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, etc. in humans, primates & mammals • grandmother hypothesis • primates & primatologists, humans & anthropologists: bias in science • the future of primates and primatology.

Frans de Waal has been named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. The author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? among many other works, he is the C. H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

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