book excerptise:   a book unexamined is not worth having

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee

Jared M Diamond

Diamond, Jared M;

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee

Hutchinson Radius 1991 / Vintage 1992, 360 pages

ISBN 0099913801, 9780099913801

topics: |  biology | history | genetics | science | philosophy | evolution | anthropology | genocide | first-contact

From biology to conquest: An inquiry into inequity

This book constitutes the broadest investigation of inequity one can conceive. It takes a breathless sweep to take two concerns, traditionally the subject of completely different fields of inquiry, and relate them within the folds of a single book:

  - Why did one animal species (man) come to dominate 
    other, very close relatives (chimps)?
  - Why did one group of humans (eurasians) come to
    dominate others (native americans)?

and it is a tribute to Diamond's writing that the whole thing coheres so well.

To put the first q. in perspective, Diamond points out that with a 1.6% genetic distance from us, "the chimpanzee's closest relative is not the gorilla (2.3%) but the human." In fact, larger variations may be seen in two species of gibbon (2.2%), or even between closely related birds - the red-eyed vs white-eyed vireos (2.9%). This makes the case for treating humans as a third chimpanzee.

From this question, to the second, is a long walk through dark alleys in biology, anthropology, sexual selection, animal signalling, moving on to language, world history, the consequences of contact between animal groups and civilizations, and finally, the environmental devastation that awaits humanity if the present path continues.

A revelation

This book was a revelation for me when I first read it in the late 90s,
and two points stayed with me.  One was the role of sexual selection,
particularly how human art and language could be related to sexual
selection rather than function (a claim further reinforced in Geoffrey
Miller's Mating Mind).  The second were the reasons
behind Eurasian dominance in culture and technology, part of which at
least could be attributed to greater climate similarity across the E-W
landmass.  Also disquieting are the descriptions of genocide resulting
from contact between technologically advanced groups meeting weaker
(gentler?) civilizations - as in the violent extinction of the Tasmanians,
described in detail by Diamond.

Convincing: change your worldview

Jared Diamond writes cogently and engagingly, and does not lose the reader
in this vast landscape; in fact, I remember reading the book with great
interest, penciling notes (which I later typed in), and making comparisons,
etc.  Eventually, the content of this book became part of my worldview.

Diamond states the book's objectives clearly:
   How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another
   species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the
   capacity to reverse all that progress overnight
The first bit occupies most of the book;  latter talks of the
civilizational impulse to over-exploit our environment, leading to the
collapse of civilizations (like Easter Island).

The narrative is amazingly broad in its scope; starting with human biology
and how it relates to apes, Diamond goes on to develop theories of what
happens when two species (or two civilizations meet), and why is it that
starting from the same origins, one group advances (in war technology)
further than another.   This leads him to issues such as genocides in
history, and finally how civilizations eventually collapse.

Material in this book was expanded to become several of his later books on
allied topics:
  * Why Is Sex Fun? (1998): Parts two and three
  * Guns, Germs, and Steel (2003): Part four
  * Collapse (2006) : part five:

Following are the excerpts as I typed them in from the pencil markings

Chimpanzee's closest relative: not gorilla but human

It is obvious that humans are unlike all animals. It is also obvious that we
are a species of big mammal, down to the minutest details of our anatomy and
our molecules. That contradiction is the most fascinating feature of the
human species. [opening lines]
   [In the years between reading this book and Daniel Gilbert's
    Stumbling on Happiness, I realize now that I have moved my position
    to challenge the first statement here - are humans really unlike
    animals?  This leads me to challenge Gilbert's attempt to define human
    uniqueness in terms of the ability to look ahead, to plan.]

Quick method of measuring changes in DNA structure is to mix
the DNA from two species, then to measure by how many degrees of
temperature the melting point of the mixed (hybrid) DNA is
reduced from the m.p. of a single species.  A
lowering in m.p. by one degree centigrade means that the two
species DNA differ by roughly one percent.  (15)

Difference in DNA and estimated millions of years since common ancestry - common and pygmy chimps (which are hard to distinguish) differ in 0.7% of their DNA and diverged from their common ancestor about 3 m years ago; we differ in 1.6% from both genes and diverged about 7 m years ago; gorillas differ in about 2.3% of their DNA from us or from chimps and diverged about ten million years ago. (Orangutans - 3.6% with gorilla, human, or chimp - 15 m y ago). ... the most similar DNAs are those of common chimpanzees and pygmy chimpanzees, which are 99.3 per cent identical and differ by only 0.7 per cent. So similar are these two chimp species in appearance that it was not until 1929 that anatomists even bothered to give them separate names. Chimps living on the equator in central Zaire rate the name 'pygmy chimps' because they are on average slightly smaller (and have more slender builds and longer legs) than the widespread 'common chimps' ranging across Africa just north of the equator. [but very different behaviours, esp. sexual. ] The genetic distance (1.6 per cent) separating us from pygmy or common chimps is barely double that separating pygmy from common chimps (0.7 per cent). It is less than that between two species of gibbons (2.2 per cent), or between such closely related North American bird species as red-eyed vireos and white-eyed vireos (2.9 per cent), or between such closely related and hard-to-distinguish European bird species as willow warblers and chiffchaffs (2.6 per cent). The remaining 98.4 per cent of our genes are just normal chimp genes. For example, our principal haemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein that gives blood its red colour, is identical in all 287 units with chimp haemoglobin. In this respect as in most others, we are just a third species of chimpanzee... (19) Traditional taxonomy has reinforced our anthropocentric tendencies by claiming to see a fundamental dichotomy between man and other beasts... but now it turns out that we are more closely related to chimps than chimps are to the gorilla. [NAMES: WHAT WE CALL THINGS - How would it be if we called ourselves "upright ape"? Would we then be able to exhibit chimps in zoo cages? Or subject apes, without their consent, to lethal experiments for purposes of medical research?] Names are not just technical details but express and create attitudes. (23)

Human Evolution: timeline

- 6 mya - upright hominid separates from chimps
- 3 mya - A. Africanus div from A. robustus (ext 1.4 mya)
- 2.4 mya - H. Habilis div from hypothesized "Third Man"
- 1.7 mya - H. erectus
- 0.5 mya - H. sapiens
- 0.1 mya - Asians, modern Africans, Neanderthal;
	 Cro-Magnon or modern man from modern African;

[By 1.7 mya A. robustus is extinct.]  H. erectus ate both
meat and plant food, used tools and a larger brain which
made him more efficient at getting even the plant food.
It is also possible that H. erectus gave his sibling
(H. robustus) a direct push into oblivion, by killing him
for meat. (31)

Australia was first reached by humans around 50,000 years ago,
implying watercraft capable of crossing stretches of water as
much as sixty miles wide between e. Indonesia and Australia.  The
occupation of Siberia by at least 20,000 y ago depended on many
advances - tailored clothing (eyed needles), elaborate houses
with elaborate fireplaces, and stone lamps to hold animal fat and
light the long Arctic nights.  The occupation of Siberia and
Alaska in turn led to the occupation of North America and South
America around 11,000 years ago. (41)

  [the common ancestor of all humans lived in Africa, about 70,000 to
  100,000 years ago. Some Africans colonized Asia, and then Australia
  (55,000 years ago) and North America (maybe 30,000 years ago). About
  40,000 years ago others from Africa, along with colonists from Asia,
  founded the European population of Homo sapiens and, probably, as they
  did so, eliminated the Neanderthals who had preceded them.
  Cavalli-Sforza, a geneticist at Stanford for many years, first produced a
  tree of human evolution in the 1960's. Indeed, he largely invented the
	  -- Mark Ridley, reviewing Genes, Peoples, and
  	     Languages, by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, NYT Aug 00]

Genesis of Language

Chimpanzees, gorillas, and even monkeys are capable of symbolic
communication . . . wild vervet monkeys have a natural form of
symbolic communication based on grunts, with slightly different
grunts to mean leopard, eagle and snake. A month-old chimpanzee
baby named Viki learned to say four words: 'papa', 'mama', 'cup',
'up' - it breathed rather than spoke these words . . . why have
apes not gone on to develop much more complex natural languages
of their own? The answer seems to involve the structure of the
larynx, tongue, and associated muscles that give us fine control
over spoken sounds. [47]

It is easy to appreciate how a tiny change in anatomy resulting
in capacity for speech would produce huge change in behaviour.
With language, it takes only a few seconds to communicate the
message, 'Turn sharp right at the fourth tree and drive the male
antelope towards the reddish boulder, where I'll hide to spear
it.'  . . . Without language two proto-humans could not
brainstorm together about how to devise a better tool, or about
what a cave painting might mean. (47)

[Neanderthal extinction - possibly language primitiveness?] This
interpretation seems to me to account for the lack of evidence
for Neanderthal/Cro-Magnon hybrids.  Speech is of overwhelming
importance in the relations between men and women and their
children.  That is not to deny that mute or deaf people learn to
function well in our culture, but they do so by learning
alternatives to a spoken language that already exists.  If
Neanderthal language was much simpler than ours or non-existent,
it is not surprising that Cro-Magnons did not choose to marry
Neanderthals. [48]


Despite negligible changes in our anatomy, there has been far more
cultural evolution in the past 40,000 years than in the millions
of years before.  Had a visitor from outer space come to Earth
during Neanderthal times, [he] might have mentioned humans along
with beavers, bowerbirds, and army ants as examples of species
with curious behavior. Would the visitor have foreseen the change
that would soon make us the first species in the history of life
on Earth, capable of destroying all life?

Among polygamous mammals, average harem size increases with the
ration of the male's body size to the female's.  gorillas, with a
typical harem of three to six females, weigh nearly double the
weight of each female; but the average harem is forty-eight wives
for the southern elephant seal, whose 3-ton male dwarfs his
700-pound mate (10:1). . . the bigger the harem, the fiercer the
competition and the more important it is for a male to be big. [61]

From the vegetarian diet of our ape ancestors, we diverged in the
last several million years to become social carnivores . . . our
hunting prowess depended instead on large brains . . . human
children took years to acquire the information and the practice
needed to be an efficient hunter-gatherer, just as they still take
years to learn how to be a farmer or computer programmer today.
During those many years after weaning our children . . . depend
entirely on their parents to bring food to them. . . baby apes
ather food as soon as they are weaned. [reasons - both
mechanical dexterity to wield tools, and also mental] [57]

Male parent role

The resulting parental burden makes care by the father as well as
the mother important for a child's survival.  Orangutan fathers
provide their offspring with nothing beyond their initial
donation of semen; gorilla, chimpanzee, and gibbon fathers go
beyond that to offer protection; but hunter-gatherer human
fathers provide some food and much teaching as well. Hence
. . . the human male retains his relationship with a female after
fertilizing her, in order to assist in rearing the resulting

The chimpanzee system, in which several adult males are likely to
copulate with the same oestrous female, also would not work for
us.  The result of that system is that a chimpanzee father's. . .
exertions on behalf of the troop infants are modest.
The human father, however, had better have some confidence in his
paternity -- for example, through having been the exclusive
sexual partner of the child's mother. Otherwise, the child-care
contribution may help to pass on some other man's genes. [58]

men's unusually large penis, and the large breasts of women even
before first pregnancy - in this we are unique among
primates. [62]

Theory of Testes and Penis size

(testes - man - 1.5 oz, gorilla, slightly less, chimp - 4 oz -
why?)]  Female gorilla does not resume sexual activity until three
or four years after birth, and she is receptive for only a couple
of days a month until she becomes pregnant.  So for even the
successful male gorilla experiences sex as a rare treat -- a few
times a year.  His relatively tiny testes are quite adequate for
those modest demands. However the male chimp in a promiscuous
troop [needs] to outdo other male chimps in semen output. [62]

[THEORY OF PENIS LENGTH (there is none)]
The length of the erect penis is 1.25 in in a gorilla, 1.5 inches in an
orangutan, 3 inches in a chimp, and 5 inches in a man. Visual
conspicuousness varies in the same sequence - a gorilla's penis is
inconspicuous even when erect because of its black colour. . . . our mean
duration of coitus (about four minutes for Americans) is much longer than
for gorillas (one minute), pygmy chimps (fifteen seconds), or common chimps
(seven seconds), but shorter than for orangutans (fifteen minutes) and
lightning fast compared to the twelve-hour long copulations of marsupial
mice. (63)

[Has the human penis become a male object of display, like the
lion's manes or peacock's feathers?]
Since it thus seems unlikely that special features of human
coitus demand a large penis, a popular alternative theory is that the
human penis has also become an organ of display, like a peacock's tail
or a lion's mane.  This theory is reasonable but begs the question:
what type of display, and to whom?...Proud male anthropologists
unhesitatingly answer: an attractive display to women.  But the
anthropologists' answer represents mere wishful thinking. Many women
say they are turned on by a man's voice, legs, and shoulders more than
by the sight of his penis.  . . . When the [women's magazine]
Viva's nude men disappeared, the number of female readers
increased, and the number of male readers decreased. . . . While
we can agree that the human penis is an organ of display, the
display is intended not for women but for fellow men. [64]

Phallocarps [penis sheaths] vary in length (up to two feet), diameter
(up to 4 inches), shape (curved or straight), angle made with wearer's
body, colour (yellow or red), and decoration (such as a tuft of fur at
the end).  Each man has a wardrobe of several sizes and shapes from
which to choose each day, depending on his mood that morning.
Embarrassed male anthropologists interpret the phallocarp as something
used for modesty or concealment, to which my wife had a succinct
answer on seeing a phallocarp: "The most immodest display of modesty
I've ever seen!" p.64

Astonishing as it seems, important functions of the human penis
remain obscure.  Here is a rich field of research. [64]

Human female sexuality

Our concealed ovulation, constant receptivity, and brief fertile
period in each menstrual cycle ensure that most copulations by
humans are at the wrong time . . . even young newlyweds who omit
contraception and make love at maximum frequency have only a 28%
probability of conception. . . Animal breeders can schedule a
single artificial insemination so that the cow has a seventy-five
percent chance of being fertilized. [65]

[Copulation is a dangerous luxury - burning up calories,
neglecting food gathering opportunities, vulnerable to predation
etc, so that advertising femae oestrus results in evolutionary
advantage.  Most mammals; in some primates the female genitalia
also turns a vivid red, pink or blue.]  Related to the paradox of
concealed ovulation is the paradox of concealed copulation.  All
other group-living animals have sex in public, whether they are
promiscuous or monogamous. [66]

Theories of concealed ovulation and copulation, 67-69

1. [traditional male antrhopologists] enhance co-operation and
   reduce aggression among males.

2. [other traditional male anthropolgists] A woman remains
   sexually attractive and receptive so that she can satisfy a
   man sexually all the time, bind him to her, and reward him for
   his help in rearing her baby. (Women evolved to make men

3. [Donald Symons] Male chimpanzees more likely to share their
   kill with an oestrous female than otherwise.  Women remain
   receptive in order to extract more of the kill from men.

4. [Joint man-woman team] If a man could recognize signs of
   ovulation, he could use this knowledge to fertilize his wife
   and safely neglect her the rest of the time.

5. [Sarah Hrdy] Male primates often kil infants not their own.
   The mothe is induced to come into oestrus again and often
   mates with the murderer. (In human history, male conquerors
   kill the vanquished men and children but spare the
   women). Concealed ovulation is a counter measure to confuse
   the issue of paternity.

6. [Nancy Burley] Human women are at greater risk during
   childbirth (gorillas - mother 200lb, child 3.5lb). If
   ovulation is not concealed, women would avoid the risky act of
   copulation during this period.


In the late 1940s Dr X was studying the genetics of human blood
groups. . . to Dr. X's shock, the blood groups (collected from
1000 newborns and parents at a highly respectable hospital)
revealed nearly ten percent of the babies to be the fruits
of adultery. - 72

Adultery has also been observed in many other animal species
whose societies resemble ours on being based on male and female
co-parents with a lasting bond. (73) . . . some mammals and most
bird species do opt for marriage. . .  There appear to be no
recorded instance of EMS in the little apes called gibbons, while
snow geese indulge regularly. (74)

a female Barbary macaque in heat mates promiscuously with every
adult male in her troop and averages one copulation every
seventeen minutes. (74)

As Freud pointed out, we often use humour to deal with things
that are intensely painful. - 73

A 19th c. visitor who spent a week at the court of the Nizam of
Hyderabad reported that four of the Nizam's wives gave birth
within eight days, and that nine more births were anticipated for
the following week.  The record lifetime number of offspring for
a man is 888, sired by Emperor Moulay Ismail the Bloodthirsty of
Morocco, while the corresponding record for a woman is only
sixty-nine (a nineteenth c. Moscow woman specializing in
triplets). . . . As a result of this, a man stands to gain much
more for EMS [extra-marital sex] or polygamy than does a woman -
if one's sole criteria is the number of offspring born.

women cannot be cuckolded, they see their baby emerging from
their bodies.  Nor can there be cuckoldry of males in animal
species practicing external fertilization . . . some male fish
watch a female shed eggs, then immediately deposit sperm on the
eggs and scoop them up to care for them, secure in their
paternity.  [But] men can be easily cuckolded. . . . An extreme
solution to this asymmetry is adopted by southern India's Nayar
society . . . women freely took many lovers simultaneously or in
sequence, and a Nayar man did not live with his wife or care for
his children, but he instead lived with his sisters and cared for
her children.  At least, those nieces and nephews were sure to
share one-quarter of his genes. (75-6)

Among herring gulls in Lake Michigan, thirty-five percent of
mated males weree observed to engage in EMS. . . nearly the same
as the thirty-two percent reported for young American husbands in
a study published by Playboy press in 1974, but whereas EMS (is
seen) in twenty-four percent of young American wives, [in gulls]
all cases of male EMS involved unmated female gulls practising
PMS. (78)

Sexual selection: Whom we marry

[WHOM WE MARRY - IMPRINTING] physical appearance - include traits
that we usually do not consciously notice, such as ear lobes,
middle fingers, and interocular distance. . . we tend to marry
someone who looks like us . . . i.e. a parent or sibling of the
opposite sex that we grew up with. [89]

[Quails raised by foster parents (one egg switched) preferred
mates of the colour of their foster parents and siblings. Yet not
too similar to their sister - first cousins preferred to third
cousins] "Principle of Optimal Intermediate Similarity".
infant male rats were reared by mothers whose nipples and vagina
were sprayed with lemon odour . . . males with scented mothers
mounted and ejaculated more quickly when placed with a scented
female than an unscented one (11.5 min vs 17 min, and vice versa
for unscented mother rats). [91-2]

[AGING and BIOLOGICAL REPAIR MECHANISMS] self-repair mechanisms
are of two sorts -- damage control, and regular replacement.  The
most visible example of damage control [in] our bodies is wound
healing, by which we repair damage to our skin.  Many animals can
achieve more spectacular results: lizards regenerate severed
tails, starfish and crab their limbs, sea cucumbers their
intestines, and ribbon worms their poison stylets.  At the
invisible molecular level our genetic material, DNA, is repaired
exclusively by damage control.  We have enzymes that fix damaged
sites in the DNA helix while ignoring intact DNA.
   [regular replacement] teeth are similarly replaced on a
pre-scheduled basis: humans go through two sets, elephants six
sets, and sharks an indefinite number, during their lifetimes.
Though we humans go through life with the same skeleton with
which we were born, lobsters and other arthropods regularly
replace their exoskeleton by moulting it and growing a new one.
Still another highly visible example of scheduled repair is the
continual growth of our hair: no matter how short we cut it, its
growth will replace the cut portion. [Cell level replacement]
about once every few days for cells lining our intestine, once
every two months for the cells lining he urinary bladder, and
once every four months for our red blood cells.  . . . When you
compare [your] photograph with that taken a month ago, we may
look the same but many of the molecules forming the body are
different.  While all the king's horses and all the king's men
couldn't out Humpty Dumpty together again, Nature is taking us
apart and putting us back together every day. [109]

Proximate vs ultimate causes

Q. Why do skunks smell bad?

[Chemist or Molecular Biologist:] Skunks secrete chemicals
	 [which] due to quantum mechanics, result in bad smells.
[Evolutionary Biologist:] It's because skunks would be easy prey
	 if they didn't defend themselves with bad
	 smells. Natural selection made skunks evolve - skunks
	 with the worst smells survived to produce the most
	 baby skunks.

Even people doing hard exercise and eating rich food -
lumberjacks, or marathon runners in training -- cannot metabolize
much more than about 5,000 calories a day.  How should we
allocate those calories between repairing ourselves and rearing
babies, if our goal was to raise as many babies as possible? -

Longevity and gene propagation

Even if you spend all day every day just lying in bed, you need
about 1,640  (man) or 1,430 (woman) calories per day.  Much of
that maintenance metabolism goes to our invisible scheduled
replacement. (114)

In most specis, males suffer greater accidental mortality than
females, partly because they put themselves at greater risk by
fighting and bold displays.  This is certainly true of human
males today and has probably been so throughout history.
Correlated . . . men also age faster and have a higher
non-accidental death rate than women . . . evolution has
programmed us so that women put more energy into self-repair,
while men put more energy into fighting . . . it just is not
worth as much to repair a man as it is to repair a woman. (115)
If you are likely to be eaten by a lion tomorrow, there is no
point paying a dentist to start expensive orthodontic work on
your teeth today. (114)

[FEMALE MENOPAUSE] Most mammals, including human males plus
chimps and gorillas of both sexes, merely experience a gradual
decline and eventual cessation of fertility with age, rather than
the abrupt shutdown of women's fertility.  [AM: Could this have a
connection with the degradation of the DNA in the ovum - leading
to 1 in 10 Down's Syndrome by age 45? (down from 1 in 10^6 in
late teens)] p.116

Language Contact and Diachronic change

[CREOLIZATION] The linguist Derek Bickerton studied creolization
in Hawaii, where sugar planters imported workers from China, the
Philippines, Japan, Korea, Portugal, and Puerto Rico in the late
Nineteenth Century.  Out of the linguistic chaos, and following
Hawaii's annexation by the US in 1898, a pidgin based on English
developed into a fully fledged creole. . . creolization had begun
by 1900, was complete by 1920, and was accomplished by children
in the process of acquiring the ability to speak. (143-4)

Creoles happen to resemble English in placing subject, verb,
object in that order, (e.g. "I want juice") but the borrowing
from English could not account for creole grammar, because
creoles derived from languages with a different word order still
use the subject-verb-object order.  These similarities seem likely
to stem from a genetic blueprint that the human brain possesses
for learning language during childhood.  Such a blueprint has
been widely assumed ever since the linguist Noam Chomsky argued
that the structure of human language is far too complex for a
child to learn within just a few years, in the absence of any
hard-wired instructions.

[ENGLISH AS A CREOLE] Germanic languages are Indo-European, which
may have been spoken in southern Russia 5,000 years ago and then
spread west across Europe.  However the Germanic languages
(arising presumably in the area of the Baltic Sea) also include
many word roots and grammatical features unique to them, and
absent from all other Indo-European families.  Familiar examples
include the English words 'house', 'wife', and 'hand', close to
the modern German words Haus, Weib, and Hand.  Could the Germanic
languages have arisen as a creole, when proto-Indo-European
traders settled among proto-Germanic tribes? (147)

    [Can we look upon URDU as a creole - with Persian as the
    dominating language, and hindustani the language of the
    masses, evolved in the 2-3 centuries between Babur (or
    pre-Babur?) to Shah-jAhAn, eventually lending itself to poetry
    by the time of Zafar.]

Functions of Art: Sexual selection

[ART:] Collection of items which are rare and attractive but
otherwise useless is also indicative of surplus energy and is
attractive to females - origins of art along evolutionary
principles. e.g. diamond ring says more than a box of
chocolates. [158-160]

And of course, the greatest art may still serve those primal
functions. [Rebecca Schroter to Franz Josef Haydn, who at the
same time as he was enjoying this doting English lover, also
boasted of an Italian mistress and an Austrian wife.  Haydn knew
how to use great art for its original purposes:]
   My Dear
   I cannot close my eyes to sleep till I have returned you ten
   thousand thanks for the inexpressible delight I have received
   from your ever enchanting compositions . . . no one can have
   such high veneration for your most brilliant talents as I
   have.  Indeed, my dear love, no tongue can express the
   gratitude I feel . . . I shall be happy to see you for dinner,
   and if you can come at three o'clock, it would give me great
   pleasure, as I should be particularly glad to see you, my
   dear, before the rest of our friends come.  [162]

[If human history were one twenty-four hour day, every hour of
clock time would represent 100,000 years of real past time.] We
lived as hunter-gatherers from midnight through dawn, noon, and
sunset. Finally at 11:54 pm we adopted agriculture. . . . we are
still struggling with the problems into which we descended with
agriculture, and it is unclear whether we can solve them. [172]

Honest Signalling: Dangerous behaviour

Some Gazelle's as they run from a lion pause to
jump high in the air - "stotting" - wasting time and energy but
demonstrating - "look, I have so much energy you will never catch
me."  Amotz Zahavi's theory (controversial): these deleterious
structures (e.g. male bird of paradise or peacock's plume ) are
valid indicators that the signalling animal is being honest in
its claim of superiority, precisely because those traits impose
handicaps.  A signal that entails no cost lends itself to
cheating, since even a slow or inferior animal can afford to give
the signal.  The lion thereby has grounds to believe the stotting
gazelle's honesty, and both the lion and the gazelle profit by
not wasting time and energy on a chase whose outcome is
certain. [178]

[DRUGS - a form of this dangerous signalling behaviour, 181]

Extra-terrestrial life and inter-species contact

Many scientists have tried to calculate the odds of there being
intelligent creatures out there, somewhere.  Those calculations
have spawned a whole new field of science named exobiology -- the
sole scientific field whos subject matter has not yet been shown
to exist. (186)

Only one of the billions of species that have existed on Earth
showed any proclivities towards radios, and even it failed to
do so for the first 69.999/70,000ths of its seven-million year
history. . . Based on our very recent evolutionary experience
we arrogantly assume intelligence and dexterity to be the best
way of taking over the world, and to have evolved
inevitably. . . Encycl. Britannica: "It is difficult to
imagine life evolving on another planet without progressing
towards inteligence."  In reality, vanishingly few animals on
Earth have bothered with much of either intelligence or
dexterity.  . . . Earth's really successful species have
instead been dumb and clumsy rats and beetles, who found
better routes to their current dominance. (193)

The intelligence and dexterity required to build radios are
useful for other purposes that have been our species hallmark
for much longer than we have had radios - purposes such as
mass-killing devices and means of environmental destruction.
We have become so potent at doing both that we are gradually
stewing in our civilazation's juices.  . . . The wisdom of
some past leaders of bomb-possessing nations, or of some
present leaders of bomb-seeking nations, does not encourage us
to believe that there will be radios on earth for much
longer.  (194)

We are very lucky [that search for extra-terrestrial life has
failed].  I find it mind-boggling that the astronomers now
eager to spend a hundred million dollars on the search for ETL
have never thought seriously about the most obvious question:
what would happen if we found it, or if it found us.  The
astronomers tacitly assume that we and the little green
monsters would welcome each other and settle down to
fascinating conversations.  Here again, our own experience on
Earth offers useful guidance.  [Towards chimps] We shoot them,
stuff them, dissect them, cut off their hands for trophies,
put them on exhibit in cages, inject them with AIDS virus . . .

human explorers who discovered technically less advanced humans
also regularly responded by shooting them, decimating their
populations with new diseases. . .  Think again of those
astronomers who beamed radio signals into space from Arecibo,
describing Earth's location and its inhabitants.  In its suicidal
folly that act rivalled the folly of the last Inca emperor,
Atahuallpa, who described to his gold-crazy Spanish captors the
wealth of his capital and provided them with guides for the
journey.  If there really are any radio civilizations within
listening distance of us, then for heaven's sake lets turn off our
own transmitters and try to escape detection, or we are
doomed. . . Fortunately, the silence from outer space is
deafening.  (195)

First Contact

The outcome of conflicts between expanding human groups [have
been decided] by differences in military and maritime
technology, political organization, and agriculture.  Groups
with larger populations, ability to support a permanent
military caste, and resistance to infectious diseases [won
out]. (199)

[PRE FIRST-CONTACT ISOLATION] As with adjacent groups of wolves and
common chimps, relations of adjacent human tries were traditionally
marked by xenophobic hostility, intermittently relaxed to permit
exchange of mates (and, in our species, of goods as well).
Xenophobia comes especially naturally to our species, because so much
of our behaviour is culturally rather than genetically specified.
. . . While Jane Goodall described males of one group of common
chimps gradually killing off individuals of the neighbouring group an
usurping their territory, those chimps had no means to kill chimps of
a more remote group, nor to exterminate all chimps (including
themselves).  Thus, xenophobic murder has innumerable animal
precursors, but only we have developed it to the point of threatening
to bring about our fall as a species.  Threatening our own existence
has now joined art and language as a human hallmark. . . . [we now]
make clear the ugly tradition from which Dachau's ovens and modern
nuclear warfare spring. (201)

While we think of ourselves as travellers, we were quite the opposite
throughout several million years of human evolution.  Every human
group was ignorant of the world beyond . . . there remain only a few
tribes in New Guinea and South America still awaiting first contact
with outsiders. [Archbold expedition's entry into the Grand Valley of
New Guinea, where 50,000 people lived in great isolation (and
cultural diversity) was one of the last first contacts] (205)

     Richard Archbold (RA) (1907-1976). RA devoted his life to the
     support of science French-British-United States biological
     expedition to Madagascar in 1929. The United States portion was
     under the auspices of the American Museum of Natural History in
     New York City and underwritten by RA's father, John
     F. Archbold. The source of RA's financial support was moneys
     inherited from his grandfather, John D. Archbold, who was the
     second president of Standard Oil Corporation after John
     D. Rockefeller.

     The experience in Madagascar inspired RA to finance and lead
     three expeditions to New Guinea during the 1930s, the last of
     which, in 1938-1939, was the most elaborate (nearly 200 people)
     and successful. Thousands of specimens of animals were deposited
     at the American Museum, and of plants at the Arnold
     Arboretum. Support for explorers of the third expedition came via
     a twin-engine PBY aircraft originally designed as an amphibious
     bomber for the U.S. Navy and at the time the largest aircraft in
     private ownership.

Wamena, Papua New Guinea (from other sources)


The one plain truth is that Baliem Valley is the last bastion of the
Stone Age---in all its glory. Isolated by 3,000-m peaks, most of the
1,600-m-high valley remains as untouched as it was on the day that
American explorer Richard Archbold stumbled upon it in 1938.

Today Archbold could have flown from Los Angeles via Singapore--or
from Jakarta, as we did--finally changing aircraft at the provincial
capital of Jayapura. The final half-hour leg of the journey crosses
the snow-streaked peaks that border the 60-km-long valley, and follows
the zigzags of the Baliem River to the airstrip at Wamena, a cluster
of tin-roofed buildings that serve as the valley's "capital."

Dani men who silently offer stone adzes and necklaces of petrified
toadstools for $10 each. Half that amount of money buys your very own
koteka, or penis gourd, teased to its maximum length by skilled
gardeners. The men may use the proceeds to buy cowrie shells, still
the currency of choice in remote villages, which are then used to buy
pigs, which in turn are used to buy wives.

To get this close to the Dani, you don't have to rough it or go over
budget. The perfect base for day trips is Wamena, where the 20-room
Baliem Palace Hotel offers double rooms with a hot shower and
satellite television for $40 and Chinese restaurants serve meals for
less than $10. Pugima, the nearest village, is an easy two-hour walk
out of town.

In the central mountain, lies a grand valley 72 km long and 16 - 31 km
wide, inhabited by Neolithic warrior and farmer, the Dani Tribes and
other sub tribes of Yali and Lani with their complex and primitive
cultures, which looks more like "stone age" cultures.

Baliem valley

This valley has been the most visited part of the island, especially
in recent years. The Dani Tribes speak related Papuan, or non -
Austronesian language and live in the high central range of Papua
Island, the most eastern province of Indonesia.

Until the last decades the Dani tribes were some of the most isolated
populations by swamps and mountains. They grew root crops, raised pig
and used polished stone axes and adzes. They didn't make pottery
(which means "sign of the modernity"), but otherwise their technology
was very much like that of the Neolithic of the Old and New Worlds.

There may be 250,000 Dani living in the central mountains, many live
scattered among the steep mountain slopes. The Valley has one of the
highest densities of population in Papua Province. The Dani Tribes
build their huts in a compound nicely express both environmental
adaptation and Dani's character. The men's and women's huts have thick
thatched roofs which keep rain, yet retain the heat from the earth,
along with just enough smoke to discourage the mosquito.

The temperatures of the highland are ranged from 26 degrees Celsius at
the day time and 12 degrees at night.

The highlights of sightseeing are Dani Market in WAMENA Town, WAUMA
Village and, which can be easily reach on foot or by car from Wamena.

Farther out are AIKIMA, with its 250 years old mummy, SUROBA, JIWIKA
and neighboring villages.

With 2 hours climbing, you can see the salt spring where the Dani
women make salt in primitive way fashion for centuries.

Outer adventures are southward to KURIMA area, where the Dani and Yali
Tribes' way of life mixed into a unique combination.

The Yali tribe

A 30-minute chartered flght to Angguruk or Kosarek area, it's about 35
miles southeast of Wamena live another tribe called Yali. The Yali
live on hills and flat terrain deeper in the Baliem Valley. The
temperature of this area is 20 C - 30 C in the day time and at night
10 C - 15 C. The total population of this area is 30.000 people.

This tribe has similar way of life like Dani but is shorter and
"cleaner". The Yali tribesmen wear "koteka", the penis gourd, straight
to front instead of straight up like the Dani do.

The Yali practice less sophisticated cultivation techniques than Dani
and keep fewer pigs. They provide the Dani with decorative bird
feathers as well as tree kangaroo and cuscus pelts and fine rare
woods, long disappear from the Baliem Valley itself.

Yali tools have not changed in a thousand of years - stone axe of
pointed shards wrapped tightly onto a wooden stick, net carrying bags
supported from the forehead, thick bows five or six feet long, and
arrowhead carved to a purpose -broad and flat for large game, a triple
barb for birds, notched and tapered black for setting tribal disputes.

There are two actually main tribes in the area: Yali and
Yalimo.Compared with the Dani people this tribe is much more
primitive and less visited. They are also less influenced by outside
world. There are no land transportation and accommodation available
here, all must be trekked on foot.

The only air transportation to Angguruk or Kosarek is served by
missionary small flight, that has to booked early in advance.

Upon arrival in Angguruk, there're just only missionary's house,
teacher's house or even local people's hut for accommodation. Food
material must be taken along with, as there is no shop available in
this region.  ]

The tribal worldview

While many pre-contact peoples had trade relations with their
neighbours, many thought they were the only humans in
existence. . . [the For\'e people are famous in science for] their
unique affliction with a fatal viral disease called kuru or laughing
sickness, which accounted for over half of all deaths (esp women) and
left men outnumbering women three-to-one in some For'e villages.  At
Karimui, sixty miles to the west of the For'e area, kuru is
completely unknown, and the people are instead affected with the
world's highest incidence of leprosy.  Still other tribes are unique
in their high frequency of deaf mutes or of male
pseudo-hermaphrodites lacking a penis, or of premature aging, or
delayed puberty. (207)

Pre-contact peoples had no way to picture the outside or
world. . . first-contact patrols had a traumatic effect that is
difficult for us to imagine.  Highlanders interviewed thirty years
later still recalled perfectly where they were and what they were
doing at the moment of first contact. (208) Leahy's obsession with
gold was as bizarre to the highlanders as their obsession with their
own form of wealth and currency -- cowry shells -- was to him. (209)

Civilizational contact and culture loss

[LOSSES to humanity due to first contact include artistic traditions
(often destroyed under missionary influence as "heathen artifacts"),
including music (log drums replaced by boomboxes), sculpture,
linguistic and cultural diversity. New guinea, with less than 1/10th
of Europe's area and less than 1/100th of its population has about
1,000 languages, many of them unrelated to any other known language
in New Guinea or elsewhere. (Europe has fifty, all in the IE
family). ] (210)

Different languages are better suited for different
purposes. . . highly inflected languages (like latin or hindi) can
use variations of word order to convey nuances impossible with
English.  (210)

[CULTURAL PRACTICES] At the time of first contact, some tribes went
naked, others concealed their genitals and practiced extreme sexual
prudery, and still others flagrantly advertised their penis and
testes with various props.  Barua men pursued institutionalized
bisexuality by living in a large, communal, homosexual house with the
young boys, while each man had a separate, small, heterosexual house
for his wife and daughters and infant sons. Tudawhes instead had
two-storey houses in which women, infants, unmarried girls, and pigs
lived in the lower story, while men and unmarried boys lived in the
upper story accessed by a separate ladder from the ground.  (210)

Differences in development: causes

		[This is the theme elaborated on in Guns, Germs and
		Steel, but most of the argument can already be found here. ]
Why is it that Europeans came to replace most of the native
population of North America and Australia, instead of Indians
or native Australians coming to replace most of the original
population of Europe?  [To rephrase the q] why was the ancient
rate of technological and political development fastest in
Eurasia, slower in the Americas (and in Africa south of the
Sahara), and slowest in Australia?  For example, in 1492, much
of the population of Eurasia used iron tools, had writing and
agriculture, had large centralized states with ocean-going
ships, and was on the verge of industrialization . . . The
Americas had agriculture, only a few centralized states,
writing in only one area, no ocean-going ships or iron tools,
and were technologically and politically a few thousand years
behind Eurasia.  Australia lacked agriculture, writing,
states, and ships, and used stone tools comparable to ones
made over ten thousand years ago in Eurasia.  It was those
technological and political differences -- not the biological
differences determining the outcome of competition among
animal populations -- that permitted Europeans to expand to
other countries. [The latter belief, of cultural superiority
owing to greater intelligence, led to the "manifest destiny"
principle - to conquer, displace, or kill 'inferior' peoples]


With the discovery of the Canary Islands in 1336, just one hundred
kilometers from Morocco off the West African coast, the Portuguese
found an Atlantic island archipelago inhabited by a people they called
the Guanche. The Guanche, whose ancestors left the African mainland in
repeated migrations between the second millennium B.C. and the first
centuries A.D., were farmers and herders. They tended crops and
animals originally domesticated in the Near East, which included
wheat, barley, peas, and sheep and goats. But contact with Renaissance
Europeans brought military defeat and enslavement. By 1496 the Guanche
had ceased to exist, the first indigenous people to become extinct as
a consequence of European maritime expansion.

Aside: The Papua First Contact: Other texts

First Contact: New Guinea Highlanders Encounter the Outside World
Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson
[see review: ]

[Two Australian film-makers visit the Highland to seek out the elders who
still remember the visit of Michael Leahy and Michael Dwyer to PNG in 1930
summer.  The people used stone axes and thought they were the the only people
in the world. They were amazed at the efficacy of steel axes and blades.
See extract in Points Unknown, ed. David Roberts, Outlook Books/Norton 2000]

Fifty years later the highland people recall these events with a
certain amusement.  But their belief in a spirit world gave them a
ready-made framework into which the coming of the Australians and
their carriers fitted easily, enabling them to come to terms quickly
with an even for which they were totally unprepared . . .
It was only a short steo fir the highlanders to imagine that they
recognized particular individuals -- prominent men, fathers, brothers,

Sole Sole from Gorohonota: "We were all gathered there watching these
strange people when one of the white men pulled out his teeth.
Everyone just ran in all directions.  [Michael Dwyer had false teeth,
which he used to disperse crowds.]

The highlanders were anxious to detect any areas of similarity between
themselves and the strangers.  Did they eat?  Drink?  Sleep?
Defecate?  "Because they wore lap laps [skirts] and trousers," says
Kirupano Eza'e of Seigu, "the people said 'We think they have no
wastes in them.  How could they when they were wrapped up so neatly
and completely?' We wondered how excreta could be passed.  We wondered
much about that."  [They used a screened latrine pit.]

But the highlander's curiosity could not be left unsatisfied for
long.  "One of the people hid," recalls Kirupano, "and watched them
going to excrete.  He came back and said, 'Those men from heaven went
to excrete over there.'  Once they had left many men went to take a
look.  When they saw that it smelt bad, they said, 'Their skin might
be different, but their shit smells bad like ours."

The strangers bodies were covered in a strange material.  They must
have something important to hide.  "We had only our traditional dress
to cover our private parts," says Gasowe of Makiroka village in the
Asaro.  "So when we  saw the strangers, we thought they must have a
huge penis they were trying to cover up.  We thought it must be so
long it was wrapped round and round their waists." . . . Reinforcing
these assumptions were more mythological stories - dealing with the
exploits of men with giant penises.  [131]

As for the night lanterns, it seemed these men from heaven had brought
the moon with them, or a piece of it. [133]


'First Contact,'' produced and directed by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson,
is an astonishing record of the meeting between the Leahys and - by the
film's estimate - about a million tribesmen whose existence had been unknown
to the outside world. In addition to the Leahys' footage, which captures this
clash of cultures with an un-self-consciousness that is virtually absolute,

Some of the natives, who are now in more or less modern dress, remember their
original perceptions of the white men in amusing detail.
When they saw the prospectors' rucksacks, for instance, ''we thought their
wives must be in those bags.'' The Leahys' khaki trousers fostered another
misconception: ''We thought they must not have body wastes in them because
they were wrapped up so neatly.'' Among their other, less benign
recollections is the Leahys' shooting a pig to show the natives what guns
could do, and to discourage any would-be thieves. This is actually captured
on film, as is the tribe's first exposure to airplanes, gramophones and tin
cans.  - Film review NYT

Animal Husbandry and Civilizational dominance

[ANIMAL HUSBANDRY] A herd's subordinate individuals have
instinctive submissive behaviours that they can transfer
towards humans.  North American Bighorn sheep do not
(preventing) the Indians from domesticating sheep.  Except for
cats and ferrets, solitary territorial species have not been

[HORSES] belong to the group of mammals termed Perissodactyla,
which consists of the hoofed animals with an odd number of
toes: horses, tapirs, and rhinoceroses.  Of the seventeen
living species of Perissodactyla, all four tapirs and all five
rhinos, plus five of the eight wild horse species, have never
been domesticated.  Africans or Indians mounted on rhinos or
tapirs would have trampled any European invaders but it never
happened. [The African elephant is harder to tame, though
Hannibal did invade Rome with an army of them]

Horses revolutionized warfare in a way that no other animal,
not even elephants or camels, ever rivalled.  Soon after their
domestication, they may have enabled herdsmen speaking the
first IE languages to begin the expansion that would
eventually stamp their languages on much of the world.  A few
millenia later, hitched to battle chariots, horses became the
unstoppable Sherman tanks of ancient war.  After the invention
of saddles and stirrups, they enabled Attila the Hun to
devastate the Roman Empire, Genghis Khan to conquer an empire
from Russia to China, and military kingdoms to arise in West
Africa.  [Not to mention Babur's wheeling battles against Lodi's
elephants] (217)

No native American or Australian mammal ever pulled a plough,
cart or war chariot, gave milk, or bore a rider.  The
civilizations of the New World limped forward on human muscle
power alone, while those of the Old World ran on the power of
animal muscle, wind, and water. (218)

[PLANT HUSBANDRY] A typical meal might consist of chicken
(from Southeast Asia), with corn (from Mexico) or potatoes (from
the southern Andes), seasoned with pepper (from India),
accompanied by a piece of bread (from Near eastern wheat), and
butter (from Near eastern cattle), and washed down by a cup of
coffee (from Ethiopia).  [Eurasia was over similar latitudes,
and plants could spread easily, in the Americas, climates
varied much more dramatically along the N-S axis] Thus, if the
Old and New Worlds had each been rotated ninety degrees about
their axes, the spread of crops and domestic animals would
have been slower in the Old World, faster in the New World.

Language Evolution

[LANGUAGES] No matter how we complain while memorizing French
word lists, these so called 'Indo-European' languages resemble
English and each other, and differ from all the world's other
languages . . . Only 140 of the modern world's 5,000 different
tongues belong to this language family, but their importance
is far out of proportion to their numbers. . . Not until we go
out into other parts of the world do we realize how Europe's
linguistic homogeneity cries out for explanation [The same is
true of India]. In areas of the New Guinea highlands,
languages as different as Chinese is from English replace each
other over short distances. (225-6)

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He lets me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me to still waters.
   - Modern (1989)
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
   - King James Bible, (1611)
Our Lord gouerneth me, and nothyng shal defailen to me.
In the sted of pasture he sett me ther.
He norissed me upon water of fyllyng.
   - Middle English (1100-1500)
Deihten me raet, ne byth me nanes godes wan.
And he me geset on swythe good feohland.
And fedde me be waetera stathum.
    - Old English (800-1166)

Genocid: Tasmania

British sealers and settlers arrived around 1800.  Whites kidnapped Tasmanian
children as labourers, kidnapped women as consorts, mutilated or killed men,
trespassed on hunting grounds, and tried to clear Tasmanians off their land.
[lebensraum has been among the commonest causes of genocide.] As a result by
November 1830 the native population of Northeast Tasmania had been reduced to
seventy-two adult men, three adult women, and no children.  One shepherd shot
nineteen Tasmanians with a swivel gun loaded with nails.  Four other
shepherds ambushed a group of natives, killed thirty, and threw their bodies
off a cliff remembered today as Victory Hill.  Naturally, Tasmanians
retaliated, and whites counter-retaliated in turn.  To end the escalation,
Governor Arthur in April 1828 ordered all Tasmanians to leave the part of
their island already settled by Europeans.  To enforce the order,
government-sponsored groups called roving parties, and consisting of convicts
led by police, hunted down and killed Tasmanians. With the declaration of
martial law in November 1828, soldiers were authorized to kill on sight any
Tasmanian in the settled areas.  Next, a bounty was declared on the natives:
five British pounds for each adult, two pounds for each child, caught
alive. 'Black catching' became big business. . . a commission headed by
William Broughton, the Anglican archdeacon of Australia [considered]
proposals to capture them as slaves, poison or trap them, or hunt them with
dogs, but settled on continued bounties and the use of mounted police.

[By 1869, only three Tasmanians remained alive]. When the last
man died in 1869, competing teams of physicians, led by Dr
George Stokell and Dr WL Crowther alternately dug up and
reburied his body, cutting off parts and stealing them back
and forth from each other.  Dr Crowther cut off the head.
Dr. Stokell made a tobacco pouch out of his skin. [252-3]
    Many whites on the Australian mainland envied the
thoroughness of the Tasmanian [total] solution and wanted to
imitate it.  . . . A typical strategy was to surround a camp
at night, and to shoot the inhabitants in an attack at dawn.
White settlers also made widespread use of poisoned food to
kill Aborigines.  Anthony Trollope: "Of the Australian black
man we may certainly say that he has to go.  That he should
perish without unnecessary suffering should be the aim of all
who are concerned in the matter."

Contemporary report

	They slept soundly those myalls (natives) after their long
	march, and could have had no thought of us being so close to
	them, for we were within our presence I was discovered, and
	then it was too late, for muddled with sleep, sore-footed,
	weary, and panic stricken they offered no resistance, and
	many of them were 'wiped out' before they could gain their
	feet. Talk of the 'Furies of Hell', that night's work
	amongst those myalls with the white man's rifle and tomahawk
	would make 'Hell's Furies' blush.  How those gins and
	kiddies shrieked when we got amongst them. The blood of the
	white man was up and nothing with a black hide escaped death
	that night. ..for when we had finished our work and drawn
	off, and in daylight came to view the white man's work of
	vengeance bucks, gins and piccaninnies were lying dead in
	all directions, and not a thing in camp moved or breathed.

	  - contemporary newspaper report, quoted in Henry Reynolds,
	    2002. Why Were We Not Told. Sydney : Pelican

[Notice the language: they are not men and women, but "bucks",
"gins" and "picaninnies"]

Proto Indo-European

Where was PROTO INDO-EUROPEAN spoken? In 1900 a 'new' but
long-extinct IE language (Tocharian) was discovered in a secret chamber
behind a wall in a Buddhist cave monastery.  The chamber
contained a library of ancient documents in the strange
language, written around 600-800 AD by Buddhist missionaries
and traders.  Secondly, the monastery lay in Chinese
Turkestan, east of all extant Indo-European speakers and about
a thousand miles removed from the nearest ones.  Finally,
Tocharian was not related to Indo-Iranian, but possibly to
branches in Europe itself.  . . This whole area is now
occupied by people speaking Turkic or Mongolian languages,
descendants of hordes that overran the area from the time of
at least the Huns to Genghis Khan.  Scholars debate whether
Genghis Khan's armies slaughtered 2.4m or only 1.6 million
people when the captured Harat, but scholars agree that such
activities transformed the linguistic map of Asia. (239)

Chart of Genocides

x: < 10K, xx: > 10K, xxx: >100K, xxxx: > 1m., xxxxx: > 10m.
 Deaths   Victims               Killers          Place         Date
 xxxx       Caribbean Indians   Spaniards        W.Indies      1492-1600	L
 xxxx       Indians             Spaniards        N./S. Am.     1498-1824	L
 xx         Araucanian Indians  Argentines       Argentina     1870s		L

 xx         Aleuts              Russians         Aleut Is.     1745-70		L
 xxx        Aborigines          Australians      Australia     1800-76		L
 x          Tasmanians          Australians      Tasmania      1800-76		L
 x	    Protestants		Catholics	 France	       1572  R(St Bartholomew's Day massacre)

 xxxxx      Jews, gypsies,      Germans          Europe        1939-45		Race/R
               Poles, Russians
 xxxxx      Political opponents Russians         Soviet Un.    1929-39		P
 xxxx       Armenians           Turks            Armenia       1915		P
 xxx        Serbs               Croats           Yugosl.       1940-45		P
 xxx        Ethnic minorities   Russians         Soviet Un.    1943-46		S
 xx         Polish officers     Russians         Katyn         1940
 xx         Jews                Ukrainians       Ukraine       1917-20		R

[xxxxx?     Chinese             Japanese         China         1941-45]
 xxx        Hindus,Moslems      Moslems,Hindus   India,Pak     1947

 xx         Hereros             Germans          S.W. Africa   1904		L

 xxxx       Bengalis            Pakistan army    Bangladesh    1971		P
 xxxx       Cambodians          Khmer Rouge      Cambodia      1975-76		P
 xx	    Moslems,Christians	Chris./Moslems	 Lebanon       1975-9		R
 x	    Tamils, Sinhalese	Sinhalese,Tamils Sri Lanka     1985		R
 xxx        Communists/Chinese  Indonesians      Indonesia     1965-67		P
 xx         Timorese            Indonesians      E. Timor      1965-67		P

 xx         Indians		Brazilians	 Brazil        1957-68		L
 x          Ach'e Indians	Paraguayans	 Paraguay      1970s
 xx	    Argentines		Argentine army	 Argentina     1976-83

 xxx        S. Sudanese         N. Sudanese      Sudan         1955-72		P
 xxx        Ugandans            Idi Amin         Uganda        1971-79		P
 xx         Tutsi               Hutu             Rwanda        1962-63		P
 xxx        Hutu                Tutsi            Burundi       1972-73		P
 xx	    opponents		dictatori govt	 Eq. Guinea    1977-79
 x          Arabs               Blacks           Zanzibar      1964
 x          Opponents           Emp. Bokassa	 Centr.Afr.R   1978-79
 x	    Ibos		N. Nigerians	 Nigeria       1966

P: Political / Power struggle
L: Lebensraum / Economical
S: Scapegoat / Revenge
R: Religious / Race / Ethnic

Revenge vs Genocide

When the US Seventh Cavalry machine-gunned several hundred Sioux Indians at
Wounded Knee in 1890, the soldiers were taking revenge for the Sioux's
annihilating Custer's Seventh Cavalry at Little Big Horn fourteen years
previously. . .  In 1943-44, at the height of Russia's suffering from the
Nazi invasion, Stalin ordered the killing or deportation of six ethnic
minorities who served as a scapegoat: the Balkans, Chechens, Crimean Tatars,
Ingush, Kalmyks and Karachai. (260)

How do we decide when a 'mere' retaliation becomes genocide?  At
the Algerian town of Setif in May 1945, celebrations at the end of
WW2 turned into a race riot in which Algerians killed 103 French.
The savage French response consisted of planned destroying of
forty-three villages, a cruiser bombarding coastal towns, civilian
commandos organizing reprisal massacres, and troops killing
indiscriminately.  The Algerian dead numbered 1,500 according to
the French, 50,000 according to the Algerians.  The
interpretations of this event differ as do the estimates of the
dead: to the French, it was a suppression of a revolt, to the
Algerians, it was a genocidal massacre. [259]

   [Rationalizations for Genocide:
   1. Self-defence, (Hitler went to the trouble of faking a Polish
	attack on a German border post to start WW2).
   2. the wrong religious or political principle.
   3. Victims were animals - resorting to our ethical codes which
	differ on humans and animals.  French referred to Algerians
	as ratons (rats), Paraguayans to the Ache' hunter gatherers
	- rabid rats; Boers - Africans bobbejaan (baboons); educated
	northern Nigerians - Ibos - vermin.]

. . . the case we have been trained from childhood to rationalize: our
not-quite-complete extermination of American Indians.  To begin with, we do
not discuss the Indian tragedy much -- not nearly as much as the genocide of
WW2 in Europe, for instance.  Our great national tragedy is instead viewed as
the Civil War.  Insofar as we stop to think about white vs Indian conflict,
we consider it as belonging to the distant past, and describe it in military
language, such as the Pequod war, Great Swamp Fight, Battle of Wounded Knee,
Conquest of the West, and so on.  Indians, in our view, were warlike and
violent even towards other Indian tribes, masters of ambush and treachery.
They were famous for their barbarity, notably for the distinctively Indian
practices of torturing captives and scalping enemies.  They were few in
number and lived as nomadic hunters . . . The Indian population of 1492 is
traditionally estimated at one million.  The figure is so trivial, compared
to the present US population of 250 million, that the inevitability of whites
occupying this virtually empty continent becomes immediately apparent.  Many
Indians died from smallpox and other diseases.  . . . plausible recent
estimates of the pre-contact Indian population is about eighteen million, a
number not reached by white settlers until 1840.  Most were settled farmers
living in villages. [269-270]

	Who among us paid much attention to the slaughter of
	Zanzibar's Arabs in 1964, or of Paraguay's Ache' Indians in
	the 1970s? [Why do we remember the Jew genocide?
	    a. The victims were whites,
	    b. the perpetrators were our war enemies, and
	    c. there are articulate survivors (esp in the US).]
	Thus, it takes a rather special constellation of
	circumstances to get third parties to focus on genocide.

The American Indian genocide and the United States

. . . The US is not even among the states that ratified the
UN convention on Genocide.  [272]

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: If it be the Design of Providence to Extirpate these
Savages in order to make room for Cultivators of the Earth, it seems not
improbable that Rum may be the appointed means.

THOMAS JEFFERSON: This unfortunate race . . . have by their unexpected
desertion and ferocious barbarities justified extermination.

ANDREW JACKSON: They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral
habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable
change in their condition.  Established in the midst of another and a
superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or
seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of
circumstances and ere long disappear.

General PHILIP SHERIDAN: The only good Indians I ever saw were dead Indians.

Civilizational extinction

[OVEREXPLOITING RESOURCES] 29 reindeer intoduced to St Matthew Island in the
Bering Sea 1944.  By 1957, multiplied 50x to 1,350. by 1963 to 6,000.  Eats
slow-growing lichen, and after a harsh winter in 63-64, all except 41F and a
sterile M perished - leaving a doomed population on an island littered with
thousands of skeletons. [282]

A. giant statues of Easter Island,
B. Anasazi pueblos of American Southwest (now desert, yet caves
   supported by huge timber pieces.  Archaeo evidence - middens -
   indicate area once vegetated by woodland and forests, which was
   cleared upto 10 km, and then an elaborate road system was built
   to even further forests, ultimately becoming a desert)
C. Ruins of Petra.

The collapse of the Classic Maya civilization, and of Harappan civilization
in India's Indus Valley, are other obvious candidates for eco-disasters due
to an expanding human population overwhelming its environment. [301]

Contents [Vintage 92 edn]

  Prologue 1
     	1  A Tale of Three Chimps 12
     	2  The Great Leap Forward 27
	3  The Evolution of Human Sexuality 56
	4  The Science of Adultery 72
	5  How We Pick Our Mates and Sex Partners 84
	6  Sexual Selection, and the Origin of Human Races 95
	7  Why Do We Grow Old and Die? 106
	8  Bridges to Human Language 125
	   Appendix: Neo-Melanesian in One Easy Lesson 150
	9  Animal Origins of Art 152
	10 Agriculture's Two-Edged Sword 163
	11 Why Do We Smoke, Drink, and Use Dangerous Drugs? 173
	12 Alone in a Crowded Universe 184
	13 The Last First Contacts 202
	14 Accidental Conquerors 213
	15 Horses, Hittites, and History 225
 	   Appendix: A proto-Indo-European Fable 248
	16 In Black and White . 250
	   Appendix: Indian Policies of Some Famous Americans 277
	17 The Golden Age that Never Was 285
	18 Blitzkrieg and Thanksgiving in the New World 304
	19 The Second Cloud 313
  EPILOGUE: Nothing Learned, and Everything Forgotten? 327
  Further Reading 333
  Acknowledgements 354
  Index 355

     World Conquest 42
     Axes of the Old and New Worlds 222
     Language of Europe and Western Asia Map 228
     A Sheep is a Sheep is a Sheep 234
     Honourable Root, Dishonourable Word 235
     How Indo-European Languages Might Have Spread 243
     Some Genocides, 1492-1900 256
     Some Genocides, 1900-1950 257
     Some Genocides, 1950-1990 258
     Family Tree of the Higher Primates 17
     The Human Family Tree 30
     Males, as Females See Them 60
     Females, as Males See Them 61
     Ishi, the last surviving Indian of the Yahi tribe 271

amitabha mukerjee (mukerjee [at-symbol] 2010 Mar 02