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Isabel Behncke — Lessons from Sex and Play, What We Can Learn from Bonobos and Chimpanzees, and More

Primatologist Isabel Behncke — What We Can Learn from Bonobos and Chimpanzees, Lessons from Sex and Play, Walking 3,000 Kilometers Through The Heart of Darkness, The Ape and the Sushi Master, and More | Brought to you by LMNT electrolyte supplement (, Athletic Greens all-in-one nutritional supplement (, and Headspace easy-to-use app with guided meditations (

Isabel Behncke (@IsabelBehncke) is a field primatologist and applied evolutionary ethologist who studies social behavior in animals (including humans) to understand our urgent challenges with each other and the planet.

Show notes:

About Tim Ferriss:
Tim Ferriss is one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People” and an early-stage tech investor/advisor in Uber, Facebook, Twitter, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ other companies. He is also the author of five #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, The 4-Hour Chef, Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors. The Observer and other media have named him “the Oprah of audio” due to the influence of his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show, which has exceeded 700 million downloads and been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three years running.

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00:00 Start
00:03:02 Baco and Jiro
00:08:04 What is an applied evolutionary ethologist?
00:10:54 Lorenz vs. Skinner
00:14:04 The brilliance of consilience
00:14:29 Humboldt vs. Darwin and the origins of evolutionary thinking
00:26:06 Recent revolutionary thoughts about evolution
00:31:34 Complexity and niche construction
00:37:09 What’s more fun: a barrel of chimpanzees or a barrel of bonobos?
00:45:31 Chimpanzee geography
00:56:28 Magnificent bonobos
00:58:27 Female mammal problems and solutions
01:07:17 Sexual dimorphism
01:10:34 Avoiding naturalistic fallacies
01:12:13 How accurate is it to call the Congo the Heart of Darkness?
01:17:15 Why are the Japanese so interested in animal behavior?
01:20:37 Potato-washing monkeys
01:23:03 Why do breakthroughs seem to come in clusters?
01:28:06 Animals at play: the adaptive joker hypothesis
01:39:15 The overlap between flow states and play
01:42:06 What the natural world can teach humans about optimizing play
01:44:22 The everlasting tango between energy and time
01:48:02 Post-pandemic play
01:51:04 How much do we understand about the way animals communicate?
02:04:50 The drunken monkey hypothesis
02:06:27 Parting thoughts

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