Adriaan Kortlandt

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Adriaan Kortlandt, lecturing in 1966. Kortland lecturing 1966.jpg
Adriaan Kortlandt, lecturing in 1966.
Kortlandt demonstrates how a goat responds to his goatlike attack. Kortlandt demonstration with goat.jpg
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".

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  1. Displacement Activities and Arousal
  2. Kortlandt, A. (1972) - New perspectives on ape and human evolution, Amsterdam, Stichting voor Psychobiologie.

Select publications

Kleindienst, M. R., Burton, F. D., & Kortlandt, A. (1975). On new perspectives on ape and human evolution. Current Anthropology, 16(4), 644-651. Link to article