Adriaan Kortlandt

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Adriaan Kortlandt, lecturing in 1966.
Kortlandt demonstrates how a goat responds to his goatlike attack.

Prof. Dr. Adriaan Kortlandt (25 January 1918, Rotterdam - 18 October 2009, Amsterdam) was a Dutch ethologist.

He was famous for his work on displacement activities (Dutch: overspronggedrag)[1] and the hierarchy of instincts. Already in the thirties he realised the common characteristics between instincts in humans and other animals. In one of his experiments in Western Africa he exposed a stuffed panther with an electronic moving head to chimpanzees, who attacked it with sticks, thus illustrating to which extent early man could have kept wild animals at bay even before spears and other weapons were invented.

He also was the author of the "Rift Valley theory",[2] better known under the name given by French paleoanthropologist Yves Coppens: "East Side Story".


  1. ^ Delius, Juan D. (Jun 21, 1967). "Displacement Activities and Arousal". Nature. 214 (5094): 1259–1260. doi:10.1038/2141259a0. Retrieved Jul 21, 2022 – via
  2. ^ Kortlandt, A. (1972) - New perspectives on ape and human evolution, Amsterdam, Stichting voor Psychobiologie.

Select publications[edit]

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Media related to Adriaan Kortlandt at Wikimedia Commons