The Origins of Morality?

While no-one who has read Demonic Males: Apes and The Origins of Human Violence can view chimpanzee society as a model of entirely good order, the research described by the Daily Telegraph below (which builds on earlier work showing pretty much the same thing) is food for thought:

“Although morality has always been viewed as a human trait that sets us apart from the animals, it now appears our closest ancestors share the same scruples. Scientists have that discovered monkeys and apes can make judgements about fairness, offer sympathy and help and remember obligations. Researchers say the findings may demonstrate morality developed through evolution, a view that is likely to antagonise the devoutly religious, who see it as God-given. Professor Frans de Waal, who led the study at Emory University in Georgia, US, said: “I am not arguing that non-human primates are moral beings but there is enough evidence for the following of social rules to agree that some of the stepping stones towards human morality can be found in other animals.”

Read the whole thing.

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