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Environment & Science

Bonobo expert to discuss Darwinian feminism at Natural History Museum

Professor Amy Parish says evolutionary science has only been telling one side of the story, and feminists ought to be worried.

Up until now the big name in evolutionary theory - the species known as the "closest ancestor" - has been the chimpanzee. But Professor Parish and a new wave of anthropologists are quick to point out that bonobos, another species closely related to the common chimp, are just as likely to be our missing link. In fact, genetically, it's a tie.

There are significant differences, though, between the two species. Chimps are known for their male-bonded clans, their dominant male figures, and their aggression. Bonobos, meanwhile, are much more peaceful than common chimpanzees. Their communities are female-dominated, and they counter the chimps' violent tempers with raging hormones. Ferocious, unfettered hormones. Bonobos have more sex, in more ways, and for more reasons, than you and I can imagine.

The differences are real, and Parish says that bonobos ought to be given their rightful seat at the evolutionary table. She says human evolutionary theory can and should be revised so that it accomodates meaningul female bonds, possibilities of female dominance over males, and hunting and meat distribution by females, too.

Professor Parish speaks this Friday, February 3rd, at 6:30pm at the Natural History Museum of L.A. County.