baboons, stress, and overcoming hierarchy in primate societies

Dr Robert Sapolsky is a professor of Neurobiology and Primatology at Stanford University. He travels to Kenya every year to study the behavior of wild baboons.

Unless they die in an accident or are eaten by a predator, baboons die form stress. Not stress from their environment, but stress they inflict upon one another.

This is a story about his amazing study of a unique incident that happened with one of his baboon troops, taken from a National Geographic film called ‘Stress: The Portrait of a Killer.‘ I love the social implications of this.

this first clip is an introduction to dr. sapolsky and his work. sorry that it ends with a cliff-hanger, but if you’re enthralled, the second part is linked, on youtube…

but the amazing part is here:

…the implications are staggering, especially because of the willingness of our “leaders” in government, finance and the various resource extraction industries to kill us – their fellow human beings – by the millions in order to advance their business interests. they/we have already destroyed the niger river delta region, the amazon basin, and now the gulf of mexico, if not the entire north atlantic and caribbean as well. how can we change this? in the holey bible, jesus said that the meek shall inherit the earth. well, every inheritance is granted through death. what needs to die in order for humans to live self-directed, much-less-stressful lives? i think this study spells out the answer quite clearly.

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