The Human Zoo

Desmond Morris

Social Evolution -fast ; Biological - slow In just a few thousand years human beings have changed from living in small tribes with a lot of space - to crowded cities ie huge tribe - small space

Farm - Males hunt ; Females - plant

coop- exploratory - intelligent

food reliable surplus

support larger tribe and non-food workers


SUPERTRIBE -no longer know everyone

To support larger tribe need to trade or conquer

humanity more diverse - more stress

MONKEYS - small group leader - split to smaller

biological - need coop balanced by competition

social double standard leader split tribe into 2 groups ..the appeased and the sad slaves (outsiders)


society creates crime so need laws against it

create (an excluded) criminal tribe. So putting them together in a jail is not a good solution

UNITED TRIBE - impression created by social and religeous customs


eg Christian Church just took over pagan festivals

LANGUAGE - has anticommunication function also by splitting tribes it gives a social identitiy

RELIGION - As super tribe evolves..many small gods evolve into one super god. But then there is a need to assert a tribal identity so splits into factions

declines due to free thinking resisting dogmas


- unites tribe (co of out camp threat)

-reinforces leader

-THEM and US

-horror becomes the battle glorious

election can unite


1st tribe is like a commune

impersonal tribe needs locks

GOVERNMENTS - use right wing methods to implement left wing policies


eg countries only unite in war

there will be no united world until major change

TV seems to create a global village - but TV is only one way, internet ?

CITY living - is it too much ? should we live in the country ?

we would miss the excitement of city the best huning grounds

we usually only get as far as the suburbs

BUT city is not really so exciting because of the force of conformism stifles innovation

(SG. maybe the countryside are better hunting grounds, because it is easier to sociallty interact...cities can be the loneliest of places)

zoo cages = lonelyness of city life


STAUS - compared to baboon

status tension is OK if group is small


Trappings - posture above (throne), hut bigger, don't do things that normal people do

Threaten Rival - stare, raise voice - threat to keep up appearances

Physically Overpower - subordinates

Cleverer - must be seen to make strong rapid decisions

Rule - suppress sqabbles -LAW

Reward Supporters - but can only have friendship between same levels

Protect Weak - reduces anxiety , so more efficient

Lead- ie decide when feed (push sciences or arts)

sometimes adopt non threatening posture to subordinates

Lead Defence --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(leisure pursuits are often like hunting

social pseudo tribe or class

e.g. if cannabis was legalised young people would look for another illegal thing to do; so that adults couldn't join in )


SUBGROUPS - cos not everyone can be the leader of a supertribe

social pseudo tribe


specialisation - eg work or hobby

class or new-age (NB meritocrative system is replacing class..causes stress)

-dominance mimicry eg fake diamonds

-redirection of aggression, sargent creates hatred in men who take it out on the enemy



1 Procreational - paradox if nuns say it's so natural why don't they do it

2 Pair formation

3 Pair maintenance

4 Physiological (need)

5 Exploratory

6 Self Rewarding

7 Occupational eg obsessive masturbation

8 Tranqilising

9 Commercial

10 Status

when we became supertribes we lost biolofical safetynet



One ST gets ahead and can't resist dominating others

in a battle only the pride and status of the leader are at stake

soldiers die because they co-operate

if no war with outside then often civil war breaks out


1 look at that green haired man hitting the child

2 GHM is vicious

3 All GHM are vicious

4 GHM will attack anyone

5 There'a a GHM I'd better hit him before he hits me...the GHM defendsI

6 See I told you GHM are vicious

7 hit all GHM

Human Species

logic of oppression

- foreign civilisation is very developed

- destroy it

- see these people are uncivilised

- see they are mentally inferior



-traumas will strongly effect - immediate and difficult to unlearn

-imprinting is the opposite

-mal-imprinting - sexual problems for tame animals

-abnormal relationships eg pet dogs look like babies



1 machines save time- so you invent tasks for stimulation

2 overindulgeing

3 pranks

4 overresponding

5 magnify stimuli eg high heels make the legs seem longer

dreams - reorganise after over stimulation

yoga- drugs - introduce artificial dream state.. helps deal with over stimulation


The Childlike Adult

schools and universities - like tribal initiation ceremonies

next generation face the problems of life or death or civilisation