Ya Big Baboon!

The physiological reaction of a zebra running for its life, after being ripped open by a lion, is shockingly similar to that of humans when we contemplate mortality -- or become distressed by a traffic jam. The same classic mammalian stress response that is supposed to get us running across the savanna in dire situations is present in humans when we aren’t exactly in danger of becoming lion chow. These are the kind of things Robert Sapolsky talks about that makes us think, Wow, this guy might be on to something. A neurobiologist as well as a primatologist, Sapolsky chose to live with baboons in order to explore stress and stress-related diseases that are found in humans. The similarities between baboons and humans are astonishing -- humans live in large social groups and pass their time being mean to each other, and according to Sapolsky, baboons do the same thing. Oh yeah, and we both are at risk of high blood pressure and other stress-related symptoms because we’re so internally burdened. Primate Behavior: Lessons for Life with Dr. Sapolsky further explores these ideas. Sapolsky appears in conversation with Michael Krasny, host of KQED’s Forum talk show.
Mon., March 5, 8 p.m., 2012

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