DISPOSITIONS, CAPACITIES, AND SUSCEPTIBILITIES
Since we – human beings, that is – are the surviving one among many hominid species all descended from primordial apes, it is not surprising that the explanation of much of our behaviour can be traced as far back as it can in our biological inheritance – with the corollary, among others, that if we had been descended from monkeys we would have had female kin-bonding in our evolved past of the kind which is lacking among apes. The similarities between our behaviour and that of the chimpanzees in the Gombe rain forest, the Arnhem zoo, and the Yerkes field station are unmistakable: there they are, fighting, playing, imitating, seducing, grieving, deceiving, collaborating, and showing off just as human beings in all cultures and societies do. But how much does that help us to explain the similarities and differences between cultures and societies with which comparative sociologists are concerned?
The standard response of twentieth-century sociologists was to insist that since our innate dispositions can be radically diverted, refined, encouraged, modified, or suppressed in different ways in different groups, communities, cultures, and societies, they are of no more relevance to comparative sociology than that human beings in all cultures and societies laugh, cry, yawn, dream, and express their emotions in facial expressions which Darwin correctly hypothesized to be naturally rather than culturally selected (although they can, at the same time, be simulated with the intent to deceive).