Le grand singe : parent, modèle ou pair ?

Albert DUCROS & Jacqueline DUCROS

fr Anthropozoologica 21 - Pages 87-94

Published on 01 November 1995

This article is a part of the thematic issue Animal in man's space, man in the animal space. Proceedings of the 5th international meeting of HASRI, Genova, 23-25 November 1994

The great ape: kin, model or peer?

During the pre-evolutionist period, based on sometimes fanciful accounts, there was considerable confusion regarding the identity and the placement of primates, especially anthro-poid apes. Their resemblance to humons led philosophers and scholars to puzzle over their ambiguous nature. With the acceptance of evolutionism, apes were seen as kin, and taken as models for anatomy, and later for behavior, of Human ancestors. Recent studies of apes in the wild as well as in zoos and laboratories have revealed a close proximity between apes and humans. Some anthropologists use some species as referential models to elucidate the process of hominid évolution. Moreover, some have even suggested that non-human primates, especially the great apes, should be classifïed in a separate category, half way between humans and animals. Others go further and propose erasing the separation between Humans and great apes. Still others wish to adopt a declaration of the rights of non-human primates analogous to the uni-versal rights of Humans, in order to defend them. In sum, current preoccupations do not differ muchfrom those of the past.


Ape, Hominid evolution, History of sciences, Ethics.

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