Stanford University stress researcher, Robert Sapolsky, in his lecture Stress and Coping: What Baboons Can Teach Us (iTunes) takes us along to the Serengeti of East Africa where he studies our close relatives, the baboons. Like us, the baboons of the Serengeti have a pretty easy time of it meeting their basic needs. It takes
them only about four hours a day to forage for their daily calories. That gives them between eight and 12 hours a day to “devote to making each other miserable.”
Sapolsky goes on to explain the baboon social structure, and what it can teach us about avoiding stress in our lives. I won’t give away the punchline, but let’s just say that the king-of-the-heap alpha baboon is not always the winner from a health and happiness standpoint.
You can also catch Sapolsky on Google video, where he gives a lecture entitled Stress, Neurodegeneration and Individual Differences.