Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Apes have "mid-life crises," humans too

Wisdom Quarterly
Balding, flabby, and testosterone-poisoned, that's the crisis at mid-life (WQ)
Yet again proving that we humans are simply the most spiritually and intellectually (albeit not necessarily the most socially or emotionally) evolved of the apes, we aren't the only ones to go through a mid-life crisis.

Everything we do, perhaps short of moral reasoning, exists in the animal world: tool-making, language (all animals communicate and some, without adequate voice boxes, manage to mimic our linguistic sounds, e.g. parrots, Mina birds, Beluga whales, howling dogs), promiscuity (bonobos), planned violence, murder, cannibalism, self-injury (most animals in captivity), anorexia (dolphins chuck), bipedalism (all birds walk on two legs in addition to a better way of traveling), smoke (monkey in Tobacco Company studies), drink (under fermenting fruit trees in desert oases), pleasure themselves... The great Noam Chomsky declared chimps could never use abstract language, until Nim Chimpsky proved him wrong.

() Noc can talk. But marine biologists
discovered whales' human voices back in 1984.
Even apes have "midlife crises," study finds
Youth in a tube (
(FOX News) Chimpanzees in a midlife crisis? It sounds like a setup for a joke. But there it is, in the title of a report published Monday in a scientific journal: "Evidence for a midlife crisis in great apes."
So what do these apes do? Buy red Ferraris? Leave their mates for some cute young bonobos? Uh, no. "I believe no ape has ever purchased a sports car," said Andrew Oswald, an author of the study. But researchers report that captive chimps and orangutans do show the same low ebb in emotional well-being at midlife that some studies find in people.
That suggests the human tendency toward midlife discontent may have been passed on through evolution, rather than resulting just from the hassles of modern life, said Oswald, a professor of economics at the University of Warwick in England who presented his work Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A second study in the journal looks at a younger age group and finds that happiness in youth can lead to higher income a few years down the road. More on that later. Let's get back to those apes. Several studies have concluded that... More

"This is one of the great patterns of human life.
We're all going to slide along this U for good or ill."
- Study author Andrew Oswald

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