The Third Chimpanzee: the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal - Chapter 11, Why Do We Smoke, Drink, and Use Dangerous Drugs? Summary & Analysis

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Humans routinely use tobacco, drink alcohol, and become addicted to dangerous drugs. Drug abuse crosses all social and cultural boundaries and laws circumscribing alcohol consumption are among the oldest known legal declarations. Thus, smoking, drinking, and drug use are universal human traits - traits that are not shared by any other animal in such a flagrantly destructive manner.

However, many animals exhibit behaviors that seem dangerous. For example, when a gazelle discovers it is being stalked by a lion it does not immediately run away; instead, it engages in stotting, and only if the lion continues to stalk will the gazelle run away. The stotting behavior expends precious time and, at least theoretically, is dangerous. Biologists theorize that stotting is a behavior that allows the gazelle to...

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