Apes—to look at them is to see a mirror of ourselves. Our close genetic relatives fascinate and unnerve us with their similar behavior and social personality. Here, John Sorenson delves into our conflicted relationship to the great apes, which often reveals as much about us as humans as it does about the apes themselves.
From bonobos and chimpanzees to gibbons, gorillas, and orangutans, Ape examines the many ways these remarkable animals often serve as models for humans. Anthropologists use their behavior to help explain our fundamental human nature; scientists utilize them as subjects in biomedical research; and behavioral researchers experiment with ways apes emulate us. Sorenson explores the challenges to the complex division between apes and ourselves, describing language experiments, efforts to cross-foster apes by raising them as human children, and the ethical challenges posed by the Great Ape Project. As well, Ape investigates representations of apes in popular culture, particularly films and advertising in which apes are often portrayed as human caricatures, monsters, and clowns.
Containing nearly one hundred illustrations of apes in nature and culture, Ape will appeal to readers interested in animal-human relationships and anyone curious to know more about our closest animal cousins, many of whom teeter on the brink of extinction.
Apes and Human Evolution
Russell H. Tuttle Harvard University Press, 2014 Library of Congress QL737.P9T86 2014 | Dewey Decimal 599.938
In this masterwork, Russell H. Tuttle synthesizes a vast research literature in primate evolution and behavior to explain how apes and humans evolved in relation to one another, and why humans became a bipedal, tool-making, culture-inventing species distinct from other hominoids. Along the way, he refutes the influential theory that men are essentially killer apes--sophisticated but instinctively aggressive and destructive beings.
Situating humans in a broad context, Tuttle musters convincing evidence from morphology and recent fossil discoveries to reveal what early primates ate, where they slept, how they learned to walk upright, how brain and hand anatomy evolved simultaneously, and what else happened evolutionarily to cause humans to diverge from their closest relatives. Despite our genomic similarities with bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas, humans are unique among primates in occupying a symbolic niche of values and beliefs based on symbolically mediated cognitive processes. Although apes exhibit behaviors that strongly suggest they can think, salient elements of human culture--speech, mating proscriptions, kinship structures, and moral codes--are symbolic systems that are not manifest in ape niches.
This encyclopedic volume is both a milestone in primatological research and a critique of what is known and yet to be discovered about human and ape potential.
What can the study of young monkeys and apes tell us about the minds of young humans? In this fascinating introduction to the study of primate minds, Juan Carlos Gómez identifies evolutionary resemblances—and differences—between human children and other primates. He argues that primate minds are best understood not as fixed collections of specialized cognitive capacities, but more dynamically, as a range of abilities that can surpass their original adaptations.
In a lively overview of a distinguished body of cognitive developmental research among nonhuman primates, Gómez looks at knowledge of the physical world, causal reasoning (including the chimpanzee-like errors that human children make), and the contentious subjects of ape language, theory of mind, and imitation. Attempts to teach language to chimpanzees, as well as studies of the quality of some primate vocal communication in the wild, make a powerful case that primates have a natural capacity for relatively sophisticated communication, and considerable power to learn when humans teach them.
Gómez concludes that for all cognitive psychology’s interest in perception, information processing, and reasoning, some essential functions of mental life are based on ideas that cannot be explicitly articulated. Nonhuman and human primates alike rely on implicit knowledge. Studying nonhuman primates helps us to understand this perplexing aspect of all primate minds.
Our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, are familiar enough--bright and ornery and promiscuous. But they also kill and eat their kin, in this case the red colobus monkey, which may say something about primate--even hominid--evolution. This book, the first long-term field study of a predator-prey relationship involving two wild primates, documents a six-year investigation into how the risk of predation molds primate society. Taking us to Gombe National Park in Tanzania, a place made famous by Jane Goodall's studies, the book offers a close look at how predation by wild chimpanzees--observable in the park as nowhere else--has influenced the behavior, ecology, and demography of a population of red colobus monkeys.
As he explores the effects of chimpanzees' hunting, Craig Stanford also asks why these creatures prey on the red colobus. Because chimpanzees are often used as models of how early humans may have lived, Stanford's findings offer insight into the possible role of early hominids as predators, a little understood aspect of human evolution.
The first book-length study in a newly emerging genre of primate field study, Chimpanzee and Red Colobus expands our understanding of not just these two primate societies, but also the evolutionary ecology of predators and prey in general.
Knowledge of chimpanzees in the wild has expanded dramatically in recent years. This comprehensive volume, edited by Martin Muller, Richard Wrangham, and David Pilbeam, brings together scientists who are leading a revolution to discover and explain what is unique about humans, by studying their closest living relatives. Their observations and conclusions have the potential to transform our understanding of human evolution.
Chimpanzees offer scientists an unmatched view of what distinguishes humanity from its apelike ancestors. Based on evidence from the hominin fossil record and extensive morphological, developmental, and genetic data, Chimpanzees and Human Evolution makes the case that the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans was chimpanzee-like. It most likely lived in African rainforests around eight million years ago, eating fruit and walking on its knuckles. Readers will learn why chimpanzees are a better model for the last common ancestor than bonobos, gorillas, or orangutans. A thorough chapter-by-chapter analysis reveals which key traits we share with chimpanzees and which appear to be distinctive to Homo sapiens, and shows how understanding chimpanzees helps us account for the evolution of human uniqueness. Traits surveyed include social behaviors and structures, mating systems, diet, hunting practices, tool use, culture, cognition, and communication.
Edited by three of primatology’s most renowned experts, with contributions from 32 scholars drawing on decades of field research, Chimpanzees and Human Evolution provides readers with detailed up-to-date information on what we can infer about our chimpanzee-like ancestors and points the way forward for the next generation of discoveries.
In Decolonizing Extinction Juno Salazar Parreñas ethnographically traces the ways in which colonialism, decolonization, and indigeneity shape relations that form more-than-human worlds at orangutan rehabilitation centers on Borneo. Parreñas tells the interweaving stories of wildlife workers and the centers' endangered animals while demonstrating the inseparability of risk and futurity from orangutan care. Drawing on anthropology, primatology, Southeast Asian history, gender studies, queer theory, and science and technology studies, Parreñas suggests that examining workers’ care for these semi-wild apes can serve as a basis for cultivating mutual but unequal vulnerability in an era of annihilation. Only by considering rehabilitation from perspectives thus far ignored, Parreñas contends, could conservation biology turn away from ultimately violent investments in population growth and embrace a feminist sense of welfare, even if it means experiencing loss and pain.
Mother and infant negotiate over food; two high-status males jockey for power; female kin band together to get their way. It happens among humans and it happens among our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom, the great apes of Africa. In this eye-opening book, we see precisely how such events unfold in chimpanzees, bonobos, and gorillas: through a spontaneous, mutually choreographed dance of actions, gestures, and vocalizations in which social partners create meaning and come to understand each other.
Using dynamic systems theory, an approach employed to study human communication, Barbara King is able to demonstrate the genuine complexity of apes' social communication, and the extent to which their interactions generate meaning. As King describes, apes create meaning primarily through their body movements--and go well beyond conveying messages about food, mating, or predators. Readers come to know the captive apes she has observed, and others across Africa as well, and to understand "the process of creating social meaning."
This new perspective not only acquaints us with our closest living relatives, but informs us about a possible pathway for the evolution of language in our own species. King's theory challenges the popular idea that human language is instinctive, with rules and abilities hardwired into our brains. Rather, The Dynamic Dance suggests, language has its roots in the gestural "building up of meaning" that was present in the ancestor we shared with the great apes, and that we continue to practice to this day.
The Evolution of Primate Societies
Edited by John C. Mitani, Josep Call, Peter M. Kappeler, Ryne A. Palombit, and Joan B. Silk University of Chicago Press, 2012 Library of Congress QL737.P9E965 2012 | Dewey Decimal 599.8
In 1987, the University of Chicago Press published Primate Societies, the standard reference in the field of primate behavior for an entire generation of students and scientists. But in the twenty-five years since its publication, new theories and research techniques for studying the Primate order have been developed, debated, and tested, forcing scientists to revise their understanding of our closest living relatives.
Intended as a sequel to Primate Societies, The Evolution of Primate Societies compiles thirty-one chapters that review the current state of knowledge regarding the behavior of nonhuman primates. Chapters are written by the leading authorities in the field and organized around four major adaptive problems primates face as they strive to grow, maintain themselves, and reproduce in the wild. The inclusion of chapters on the behavior of humans at the end of each major section represents one particularly novel aspect of the book, and it will remind readers what we can learn about ourselves through research on nonhuman primates. The final section highlights some of the innovative and cutting-edge research designed to reveal the similarities and differences between nonhuman and human primate cognition. The Evolution of Primate Societies will be every bit the landmark publication its predecessor has been.
The woolly spider monkey, or muriqui, is one of the most threatened primate species in the world. Because of deforestation in their natural habitat—the Atlantic coastal forests of southeastern Brazil—the muriquis are confined to less than 3 percent of their original range. As of 1987, there were only a dozen forest fragments known to support a total muriqui population of about 500. As of 1998, at least 20 forests are known to support at least 1,000 muriquis. This book traces the natural history of the muriqui from its scientific discovery in 1806 to its current, highly endangered status.
Karen Strier provides a case study of this scientifically important primate species by balancing field research and ecological issues. Through her accessible presentation, readers gain a broad understanding of primate behavior and tropical conservation.
From the temptation of Eve to the venomous murder of the mighty Thor, the serpent appears throughout time and cultures as a figure of mischief and misery. The worldwide prominence of snakes in religion, myth, and folklore underscores our deep connection to the serpent—but why, when so few of us have firsthand experience? The surprising answer, this book suggests, lies in the singular impact of snakes on primate evolution. Predation pressure from snakes, Lynne Isbell tells us, is ultimately responsible for the superior vision and large brains of primates—and for a critical aspect of human evolution.
Drawing on extensive research, Isbell further speculates how snakes could have influenced the development of a distinctively human behavior: our ability to point for the purpose of directing attention. A social activity (no one points when alone) dependent on fast and accurate localization, pointing would have reduced deadly snake bites among our hominin ancestors. It might have also figured in later human behavior: snakes, this book eloquently argues, may well have given bipedal hominins, already equipped with a non-human primate communication system, the evolutionary nudge to point to communicate for social good, a critical step toward the evolution of language, and all that followed.
Ted Gott and Kathryn Weir Reaktion Books, 2013
Since coming to international prominence in the mid-nineteenth century when English, French, and American scientists first encountered them, the gorilla’s physical resemblance to humans has struck a deep chord. Gorillas quickly came to dominate evolutionary debates and grew prevalent in literature, art, film, and popular culture—they are the focus of movies such as Congo and the inspiration for the video game character Donkey Kong and DC Comics super villain Gorilla Grodd. In Gorilla, Ted Grott and Kathryn Weir provide a compelling and unsettling account of our relationship with these highly intelligent animals as they fight extinction due to habitat destruction, commercial hunting, and disease.
Gott and Weir describe how early European observations of gorillas in their native Africa were the genesis of literary and artistic representations such as King Kong. At the same time, gorillas became symbolic of sexuality and subconscious, uncontrolled urges, and influenced theories of criminality. It was not until Dian Fossey’s research in the 1960s and 1970s that many misconceptions about the gorilla—especially their violence—were dispelled. A notable history of the gorilla’s influence on our culture and its plight at the hands of humans, Gorilla will appeal to any animal lover wanting to learn more about this noble creature and its uncertain future.
Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong.
The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected.
Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism.
Cheney and Seyfarth enter the minds of vervet monkeys and other primates to explore the nature of primate intelligence and the evolution of cognition.
"This reviewer had to be restrained from stopping people in the street to urge them to read it: They would learn something of the way science is done, something about how monkeys see their world, and something about themselves, the mental models they inhabit."—Roger Lewin, Washington Post Book World
"A fascinating intellectual odyssey and a superb summary of where science stands."—Geoffrey Cowley, Newsweek
"A once-in-the-history-of-science enterprise."—Duane M. Rumbaugh, Quarterly Review of Biology
Amanda Rees and Charlotte Sleigh Reaktion Books, 2020
What does it mean to be human? And what, if anything, does it have to do with being a member of the animal species Homo sapiens? This dazzling book gets to the very heart of our rather unscientific motivations and prejudices, showing how they are of great use in resolving the world’s biggest problems. From beasts to aliens, this book explores widely discussed but often problematic links between humans and six other beings, tackling deep philosophical questions including humanity’s common purpose, life’s meaning, and what it means to be accepted as part of a community. Global in its outlook and illustrated with stunning pictures, Human is a powerful, funny, and iconoclastic antidote to post-humanism.
Infanticide in the natural world might be a relatively rare event, but as Amanda Rees shows, it has enormously significant consequences. Identified in the 1960s as a phenomenon worthy of investigation, infanticide had, by the 1970s, become the focus of serious controversy. The suggestion, by Sarah Hrdy, that it might be the outcome of an evolved strategy intended to maximize an individual’s reproductive success sparked furious disputes between scientists, disagreements that have continued down to the present day.
Meticulously tracing the history of the infanticide debates, and drawing on extensive interviews with field scientists, Rees investigates key theoretical and methodological themes that have characterized field studies of apes and monkeys in the twentieth century. As a detailed study of the scientific method and its application to field research, The Infanticide Controversy sheds new light on our understanding of scientific practice, focusing in particular on the challenges of working in “natural” environments, the relationship between objectivity and interpretation in an observational science, and the impact of the public profile of primatology on the development of primatological research. Most importantly, it also considers the wider significance that the study of field science has in a period when the ecological results of uncontrolled human interventions in natural systems are becoming ever more evident.
The first and still the only book focused exclusively on juvenile primates, this collection presents original research covering all the major divisions of primates, from prosimians to humans. Contributors explore the evolutionary history of the juvenile stage in primates, differences in behavior between juvenile males and females, how juvenile behaviors act both to prepare juveniles for adulthood and to help them survive the juvenile stage, how juveniles learn about and participate in social conflict and dominance relationships, and the similarities and differences between development of juvenile human and nonhuman primates. This edition includes a new foreword and bibliography prepared by the editors.
Filippo Aureli, Bernard Chapais, Marina Cords, Carolyn M. Crockett, Frans B. M. de Waal, Carolyn Pope Edwards, Robert Fagen, Carole Gauthier, Paul H. Harvey, Charlotte K. Hemelrijk, Loek A. M. Herremans, Julia A. Horrocks, Wayne Hunte, Charles H. Janson, Nicholas Blurton Jones, Katharine Milton, Leanne T. Nash, Timothy G. O'Brien, Mark D. Pagel, Theresa R. Pope, Anne E. Pusey, Lal Singh Rajpurohit, John G. Robinson, Thelma Rowell, Daniel I. Rubenstein, Volker Sommer, Elisabeth H. M. Sterck, Karen B. Strier, Carel P. van Schaik, Maria A. van Noordwijk, David P. Watts, and Carol M. Worthman.
In this long-awaited work, Philip Hershkovitz provides the most thorough and comprehensive treatise ever published on New World monkeys. The volume gives a detailed account of the origin, evolution, dispersal, and behavior of platyrrhines and a systematic arrangement of all known forms, living and extinct. During an eleven-year period, Hershkovitz examined more than 3,100 museum-preserved specimens and relevant primate fossils and observed hundreds of animals in captivity and thousands in the wild state. He presents his results in an elegant and encyclopedic text, lavishly illustrated with 520 figures and 7 color plates.
Hershkovitz opens the study with a brief history and a definition, characterization, and comparison of primates as a taxonomic unit. Basing his work on nearly all known genera of living primates, the author deals with New World monkeys from comparative anatomical and evolutionary points of view. He examines display characters, pelage, the evolution of color patterns, primate locomotion, cranial and dental morphology, and the central nervous system.
The final and most extensive part of the volume is devoted to the taxonomy and biology of the family Callitrichidae, comprising marmosets and tamarins, and the family Callimiconidae, represented by the callimico alone. Hershkovitz concludes with an exhaustive bibliography of more than 2,500 published works and a gazetteer of essential geographic data.
With their tonsured heads, white faces, and striking cowls, the monkeys might vaguely resemble the Capuchin monks for whom they were named. How they act is something else entirely. They climb onto each other’s shoulders four deep to frighten enemies. They test friendship by sticking their fingers up one another’s noses. They often nurse—but sometimes kill—each other’s offspring. They use sex as a means of communicating. And they negotiate a remarkably intricate network of alliances, simian politics, and social intrigue. Not monkish, perhaps, but as we see in this downright ethnographic account of the capuchins of Lomas Barbudal, their world is as complex, ritualistic, and structured as any society.
Manipulative Monkeys takes us into a Costa Rican forest teeming with simian drama, where since 1990 primatologists Susan Perry and Joseph H. Manson have followed the lives of four generations of capuchins. What the authors describe is behavior as entertaining—and occasionally as alarming—as it is recognizable: the competition and cooperation, the jockeying for position and status, the peaceful years under an alpha male devolving into bloody chaos, and the complex traditions passed from one generation to the next. Interspersed with their observations of the monkeys’ lives are the authors’ colorful tales of the challenges of tropical fieldwork—a mixture so rich that by the book’s end we know what it is to be a wild capuchin monkey or a field primatologist. And we are left with a clear sense of the importance of these endangered monkeys for understanding human behavioral evolution.
Understanding the chimpanzee mind is akin to opening a window onto human consciousness. Many of our complex cognitive processes have origins that can be seen in the way that chimpanzees think, learn, and behave. The Mind of the Chimpanzee brings together scores of prominent scientists from around the world to share the most recent research into what goes on inside the mind of our closest living relative.
Intertwining a range of topics—including imitation, tool use, face recognition, culture, cooperation, and reconciliation—with critical commentaries on conservation and welfare, the collection aims to understand how chimpanzees learn, think, and feel, so that researchers can not only gain insight into the origins of human cognition, but also crystallize collective efforts to protect wild chimpanzee populations and ensure appropriate care in captive settings. With a breadth of material on cognition and culture from the lab and the field, The Mind of the Chimpanzee is a first-rate synthesis of contemporary studies of these fascinating mammals that will appeal to all those interested in animal minds and what we can learn from them.
Monkeys populate our culture, from the adorable hijinks of Curious George and the loyal friendship between Aladdin and Abu to the menacing gait of the winged ones in The Wizard of Oz. We visit them in zoos and even sometimes keep them as pets à la Catherine de Medici and Michael Jackson. As renowned zoologist Desmond Morris shows, it is not surprising that we are so attracted to them. While we sometimes view monkeys as trivial or comic, their mischievousness is delightful, and their urge to explore and love of activity fascinate us.
Monkey unpacks human attitudes toward these animals, tracing our connection with them throughout history. Morris reveals that our fascination with monkeys extends through many cultures and eras—ancient Egyptians revered baboons, monkey deities featured prominently in ancient Chinese and Japanese religions, and sacred status was given to the langur monkey by some groups in India. He also describes how our relationship with monkeys has changed since Darwin, and even become more troubled—this in-depth knowledge of our own origins amplifies our identification with and concern for the idea of monkeys’ primitivism and destructive behaviors. Drawing a vibrant picture of these beguiling animals and their continued popularity with humans, Monkey brings a new understanding to our complicated relationship with the ever-curious George.
Monkey see, monkey do—or does she? Can the behavior of non-human primates—their sociality, their intelligence, their communication—really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves.
An eye-opening blend of storytelling, memoir, and science, Monkeytalk takes us into the field and the world’s primate labs to investigate the intricacies of primate social mores through the lens of communication. After first detailing the social interactions of key species from her fieldwork—from baby-wielding male Barbary macaques, who use infants as social accessories in a variety of interactions, to aggression among the chacma baboons of southern Africa and male-male tolerance among the Guinea baboons of Senegal—Fischer explores the role of social living in the rise of primate intelligence and communication, ultimately asking what the ways in which other primates communicate can teach us about the evolution of human language.
Funny and fascinating, Fischer’s tale roams from a dinner in the field shared with lionesses to insights gleaned from Rico, a border collie with an astonishing vocabulary, but its message is clear: it is humans who are the evolutionary mimics. The primate heritage visible in our species is far more striking than the reverse, and it is the monkeys who deserve to be seen. “The social life of macaques and baboons is a magnificent opera,” Fischer writes. “Permit me now to raise the curtain on it.”
Recent discoveries about wild chimpanzees have dramatically reshaped our understanding of these great apes and their kinship with humans. We now know that chimpanzees not only have genomes similar to our own but also plot political coups, wage wars over territory, pass on cultural traditions to younger generations, and ruthlessly strategize for resources, including sexual partners. In The New Chimpanzee, Craig Stanford challenges us to let apes guide our inquiry into what it means to be human.
With wit and lucidity, Stanford explains what the past two decades of chimpanzee field research has taught us about the origins of human social behavior, the nature of aggression and communication, and the divergence of humans and apes from a common ancestor. Drawing on his extensive observations of chimpanzee behavior and social dynamics, Stanford adds to our knowledge of chimpanzees’ political intelligence, sexual power plays, violent ambition, cultural diversity, and adaptability.
The New Chimpanzee portrays a complex and even more humanlike ape than the one Jane Goodall popularized more than a half century ago. It also sounds an urgent call for the protection of our nearest relatives at a moment when their survival is at risk.
Getting from here to there may be simple for one individual. But as any parent, scout leader, or CEO knows, herding a whole troop in one direction is a lot more complicated. Who leads the group? Who decides where the group will travel, and using what information? How do they accomplish these tasks?
On the Move addresses these questions, examining the social, cognitive, and ecological processes that underlie patterns and strategies of group travel. Chapters discuss how factors such as group size, resource distribution and availability, the costs of travel, predation, social cohesion, and cognitive skills affect how individuals as well as social groups exploit their environment. Most chapters focus on field studies of a wide range of human and nonhuman primate groups, from squirrel monkeys to Turkana pastoralists, but chapters covering group travel in hyenas, birds, dolphins, and bees provide a broad taxonomic perspective and offer new insights into comparative questions, such as whether primates are unique in their ability to coordinate group-level activities.
Parenting for Primates
Harriet J. Smith Harvard University Press, 2005 Library of Congress HQ755.8.S6328 2005 | Dewey Decimal 306.874
What parent hasn’t wondered “What do I do now?” as a baby cries or a teenager glares? Making babies may come naturally, but knowing how to raise them doesn’t. As primatologist-turned-psychologist Harriet J. Smith shows in this lively safari through the world of primates, parenting by primates isn’t instinctive, and that’s just as true for monkeys and apes as it is for humans.
In this natural history of primate parenting, Smith compares parenting by nonhuman and human primates. In a narrative rich with vivid anecdotes derived from interviews with primatologists, from her own experience breeding cotton-top tamarin monkeys for over thirty years, and from her clinical psychology practice, Smith describes the thousand and one ways that primate mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, and even babysitters care for their offspring, from infancy through young adulthood.
Smith learned the hard way that hand-raised cotton-top tamarins often mature into incompetent parents. Her observation of inadequate parenting by cotton-tops plus her clinical work with troubled human families sparked her interest in the process of how primates become “good-enough” parents. The story of how she trained her tamarins to become adequate parents lays the foundation for discussions about the crucial role of early experience on parenting in primates, and how certain types of experiences, such as anxiety and social isolation, can trigger neglectful or abusive parenting.
Smith reveals diverse strategies for parenting by primates, but she also identifies parenting behaviors crucial to the survival and development of primate youngsters that have stood the test of time.
Peacemaking among Primates
Frans B. M. de Waal Harvard University Press, 1989 Library of Congress QL737.P9W28 1989 | Dewey Decimal 599.80451
Does biology condemn the human species to violence and war? Previous studies of animal behavior incline us to answer yes, but the message of this book is considerably more optimistic. Without denying our heritage of aggressive behavior, Frans de Waal describes powerful checks and balances in the makeup of our closest animal relatives, and in so doing he shows that to humans making peace is as natural as making war.
In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights. Chimpanzees, for instance, reconcile with a hug and a kiss, whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries. By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions, de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social relationships can be built and strengthened through reconciliation.
The author examines five different species—chimpanzees, rhesus monkeys, stump-tailed monkeys, bonobos, and humans—and relates anecdotes, culled from exhaustive observations, that convey the intricacies and refinements of simian behavior. Each species utilizes its own unique peacemaking strategies. The bonobo, for example, is little known to science, and even less to the general public, but this rare ape maintains peace by means of sexual behavior divorced from reproductive functions; sex occurs in all possible combinations and positions whenever social tensions need to be resolved. “Make love, not war” could be the bonobo slogan.
De Waal’s demonstration of reconciliation in both monkeys and apes strongly supports his thesis that forgiveness and peacemaking are widespread among nonhuman primates—an aspect of primate societies that should stimulate much needed work on human conflict resolution.
Planet Without Apes
Craig B. Stanford Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress QL737.P96S733 2012 | Dewey Decimal 599.88
Planet Without Apes demands that we consider whether we can live with the consequences of wiping our closest relatives off the face of the Earth. Leading primatologist Craig Stanford warns that extinction of the great apes—chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutans—threatens to become a reality within just a few human generations. We are on the verge of losing the last links to our evolutionary past, and to all the biological knowledge about ourselves that would die along with them. The crisis we face is tantamount to standing aside while our last extended family members vanish from the planet.
Stanford sees great apes as not only intelligent but also possessed of a culture: both toolmakers and social beings capable of passing cultural knowledge down through generations. Compelled by his field research to take up the cause of conservation, he is unequivocal about where responsibility for extinction of these species lies. Our extermination campaign against the great apes has been as brutal as the genocide we have long practiced on one another. Stanford shows how complicity is shared by people far removed from apes’ shrinking habitats. We learn about extinction’s complex links with cell phones, European meat eaters, and ecotourism, along with the effects of Ebola virus, poverty, and political instability.
Even the most environmentally concerned observers are unaware of many specific threats faced by great apes. Stanford fills us in, and then tells us how we can redirect the course of an otherwise bleak future.
Primate Conservation Biology
Guy Cowlishaw and Robin I. M. Dunbar University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress QL737.P9C69 2000 | Dewey Decimal 333.959816
From the snub-nosed monkeys of China to the mountain gorillas of central Africa, our closest nonhuman relatives are in critical danger worldwide. A recent report, for example, warns that nearly 20 percent of the world's primates may go extinct within the next ten or twenty years. In this book Guy Cowlishaw and Robin Dunbar integrate cutting-edge theoretical advances with practical management priorities to give scientists and policymakers the tools they need to help keep these species from disappearing forever.
Primate Conservation Biology begins with detailed overviews of the diversity, life history, ecology, and behavior of primates and the ways these factors influence primate abundance and distribution. Cowlishaw and Dunbar then discuss the factors that put primates at the greatest risk of extinction, especially habitat disturbance and hunting. The remaining chapters present a comprehensive review of conservation strategies and management practices, highlighting the key issues that must be addressed to protect primates for the future.
A provocative collective reflection on primatology and its relations to broader cultural, historical, and social issues, Primate Encounters brings together both scientists and those who study them to investigate precisely what kind of science primatology is.
"[A] fascinating study . . . on how and why ideas about primate society have changed. The volume consists of dialogues among scientists from different disciplines, national traditions, scientific culture, generations, standpoints, and genders. . . . A wonderful reflection on the discipline of primatology and on science in general."—Science Books and Films
"Primate Encounters should be required reading for anyone about to embark on a career in the field. But it equally valuable for its miscellany of opinions, recollections and off-the-cuff remarks, as well as for its thoughtful observations, 'outrageous ravings' and humour (from the elders in the field). It gives us a glimpse of how scientists work together to understand their place in the world."—Deborah L. Mazolillo, Times Literary Supplement
We know a great deal about roles the environment plays in shaping survival, reproductive success, and even social systems among primates. But how do primate life histories affect social systems and vice versa? Do baboons' patterns of growth, for example, help to structure their societies? Does fission-fusion sociality interact with predator pressure to influence the timing of maturation in chimpanzees?
Exploring these issues and many others, the contributors to Primate Life Histories and Socioecology provide the first systematic attempt to understand relationships among primate life histories, ecology, and social behavior conjointly. Topics covered include how primate life histories interact with rates of evolution, predator pressure, and diverse social structures; how the slow maturation of primates affects the behavior of both young and adult caregivers; and reciprocal relationships between large brains and increased social and behavioral complexity. The first collection of its kind, this book will interest a wide range of researchers, from anthropologists and evolutionary biologists to psychologists and ecologists.
Paul-Michael Agapow, Susan C. Alberts, Jeanne Altmann, Robert A. Barton, Nicholas G. Blurton Jones, Robert O. Deaner, Robin I. M. Dunbar, Jörg U. Ganzhorn, Laurie R. Godfrey, Kristen Hawkes, Nick J. B. Isaac, Charles H. Janson, Kate E. Jones, William L. Jungers, Peter M. Kappeler, Susanne Klaus, Phyllis C. Lee, Steven R. Leigh, Robert D. Martin, James F. O'Connell, Sylvia Ortmann, Michael E. Pereira, Andy Purvis, Caroline Ross, Karen E. Samonds, Jutta Schmid, Stephen C. Stearns, Michael R. Sutherland, Carel P. van Schaik, and Andrea J. Webster.
“Monkey see, monkey do” may sound simple, but how an individual perceives and processes the behavior of another is one of the most complex and fascinating questions related to the social life of humans and other primates. In The Primate Mind, experts from around the world take a bottom-up approach to primate social behavior by investigating how the primate mind connects with other minds and exploring the shared neurological basis for imitation, joint action, cooperative behavior, and empathy.
In the past, there has been a tendency to ask all-or-nothing questions, such as whether primates possess a theory of mind, have self-awareness, or have culture. A bottom-up approach asks, rather, what are the underlying cognitive processes of such capacities, some of which may be rather basic and widespread. Prominent neuroscientists, psychologists, ethologists, and primatologists use methods ranging from developmental psychology to neurophysiology and neuroimaging to explore these evolutionary foundations.
A good example is mirror neurons, first discovered in monkeys but also assumed to be present in humans, that enable a fusing between one’s own motor system and the perceived actions of others. This allows individuals to read body language and respond to the emotions of others, interpret their actions and intentions, synchronize and coordinate activities, anticipate the behavior of others, and learn from them. The remarkable social sophistication of primates rests on these basic processes, which are extensively discussed in the pages of this volume.
This critical review of behavior patterns in nonhuman primates is an excellent study of the importance of female roles in different social groups and their significance in the evolution of human social life.
"A book that properly illuminates in rich detail not only developmental and socioecological aspects of primate behavior but also how and why certain questions are asked. In addition, the book frequently focuses on insufficiently answered questions, especially those concerned with the evolution of primate sex differences. Fedigan's book is unique . . . because it places primate adaptations and our explanation of those patterns in a larger intellectual framework that is easily and appropriately connected to many lines of research in different fields (sociology, psychology, anthropology, neurobiology, endocrinology, and biology)—and not in inconsequential ways, either."—James McKenna, American Journal of Primatology
"This is the feminist critique of theories of primate and human evolution."—John H. Cook, Nature
In the last 30 years the bushmeat trade has led to the slaughter of nearly 90 percent of West Africa’s bonobos, perhaps our closest relatives, and has recently driven Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey to extinction. Earth was once rich with primates, but every species—except one—is now extinct or endangered because of one primate—Homo sapiens. How have our economic and cultural practices pushed our cousins toward destruction? Would we care more about their fate if we knew something of their individual lives and sufferings? Would we help them if we understood how our choices threaten their existence? This anthology helps to answer these questions.
The first section of Primate People introduces forces that threaten nonhuman primates, such as the entertainment and “pet” industries, the bushmeat trade, habitat destruction, and logging. The second section exposes the exploitation of primates in research facilities, including the painful memories of an undercover agent, and suggests models of more enlightened scientific methods. The final section tells the stories of those who lobby for change, educate communities, and tenderly care for our displaced cousins in sanctuaries.
Sometimes shocking and disturbing, sometimes poignant and encouraging, Primate People always draws the reader into the lives of nonhuman primates. Activists around the world reveal the antics and pleasures of monkeys, the tendencies and idiosyncrasies of chimpanzees, and the sufferings and fears of macaques. Charming, difficult, sensitive—these testimonies demonstrate that nonhuman primates and human beings are, indeed, closely related. Woven into the anthology’s lucid narratives are the stories of how we harm and create the conditions that endanger primates, and what we can and must do to prevent their ongoing suffering and fast-approaching extinction.
Edited by Barbara B. Smuts, Dorothy L. Cheney, Robert M. Seyfarth, Richard W. Wr University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress QL737.P9P6744 1987 | Dewey Decimal 599.0524
Primate Societies is a synthesis of the most current
information on primate socioecology and its theoretical and
empirical significance, spanning the disciplines of behavioral
biology, ecology, anthropology, and psychology. It is a very rich
source of ideas about other taxa.
"A superb synthesis of knowledge about the social lives of
non-human primates."—Alan Dixson, Nature
Conflict between males and females over reproduction is ubiquitous in nature due to fundamental differences between the sexes in reproductive rates and investment in offspring. In only a few species, however, do males strategically employ violence to control female sexuality. Why are so many of these primates? Why are females routinely abused in some species, but never in others? And can the study of such unpleasant behavior by our closest relatives help us to understand the evolution of men’s violence against women?
In the first systematic attempt to assess and understand primate male aggression as an expression of sexual conflict, the contributors to this volume consider coercion in direct and indirect forms: direct, in overcoming female resistance to mating; indirect, in decreasing the chance the female will mate with other males. The book presents extensive field research and analysis to evaluate the form of sexual coercion in a range of species—including all of the great apes and humans—and to clarify its role in shaping social relationships among males, among females, and between the sexes.
In the early 1890s the theory of evolution gained an unexpected ally: the Edison phonograph. An amateur scientist used the new machine—one of the technological wonders of the age—to record monkey calls, play them back to the monkeys, and watch their reactions. From these soon-famous experiments he judged that he had discovered “the simian tongue,” made up of words he was beginning to translate, and containing the rudiments from which human language evolved. Yet for most of the next century, the simian tongue and the means for its study existed at the scientific periphery. Both returned to great acclaim only in the early 1980s, after a team of ethologists announced that experimental playback showed certain African monkeys to have rudimentarily meaningful calls.
Drawing on newly discovered archival sources and interviews with key scientists, Gregory Radick here reconstructs the remarkable trajectory of a technique invented and reinvented to listen in on primate communication. Richly documented and powerfully argued, The Simian Tongue charts the scientific controversies over the evolution of language from Darwin’s day to our own, resurrecting the forgotten debts of psychology, anthropology, and other behavioral sciences to the Victorian debate about the animal roots of human language.
Happy has lived at the Bronx Zoo for most of her 48 years, and for more than a decade has remained largely isolated and lonely. Like all elephants, Happy has a complex mind and a deep social, intellectual, and emotional life; she desires to make choices and has a sense of self-recognition. But like all nonhuman animals, Happy is considered a thing in the eye of the law, with no fundamental rights. Due to a series of groundbreaking legal cases, however, this is beginning to change—and Happy’s liberation is at the forefront. A vibrant and personal graphic novel, Thing: Inside the Struggle for Animal Personhood traces this moving story and makes the legal and scientific case for animal personhood.
Led by lawyer Steven M. Wise and aided by some of the world’s most respected animal behavior and cognition scientists, the Nonhuman Rights Project has filed cases on behalf of nonhuman animals like Happy since 2013. Through this work, they have forced courts to consider the evidence of their clients’ cognitive abilities and their legal arguments for personhood, opening the door for similar cases worldwide. In Thing, comic artists Sam Machado and Cynthia Sousa Machado bring together Wise’s groundbreaking work and their powerful illustrations in the first graphic nonfiction book about the animal personhood movement. Beginning with Happy’s story and the central ideas behind animal rights, Thing then turns to the scientists that are revolutionizing our understanding of the minds of nonhuman animals such as great apes, elephants, dolphins, and whales. As we learn more about these creatures’ inner lives and autonomy, the need for the greater protections provided by legal rights becomes ever more urgent.
With cases like Happy’s growing in number and spanning from Argentina to India, nations around the world are beginning to recognize the rights of animals. Combining legal and social history, innovative science, and illustrated storytelling, Thing presents a visionary new way of relating to the nonhuman world.
How did we become the linguistic, cultured, and hugely successful apes that we are? Our closest relatives--the other mentally complex and socially skilled primates--offer tantalizing clues. In Tree of Origin nine of the world's top primate experts read these clues and compose the most extensive picture to date of what the behavior of monkeys and apes can tell us about our own evolution as a species.
It has been nearly fifteen years since a single volume addressed the issue of human evolution from a primate perspective, and in that time we have witnessed explosive growth in research on the subject. Tree of Origin gives us the latest news about bonobos, the "make love not war" apes who behave so dramatically unlike chimpanzees. We learn about the tool traditions and social customs that set each ape community apart. We see how DNA analysis is revolutionizing our understanding of paternity, intergroup migration, and reproductive success. And we confront intriguing discoveries about primate hunting behavior, politics, cognition, diet, and the evolution of language and intelligence that challenge claims of human uniqueness in new and subtle ways.
Tree of Origin provides the clearest glimpse yet of the apelike ancestor who left the forest and began the long journey toward modern humanity.
She likes tea, sews, draws on papers and is a self-taught master of tying and untying knots. But she is not a crafty woman of the DIY set: she is Wattana, an orangutan who lives in the Jardin des Plantes Zoo in Paris. And it is in Paris where Chris Herzfeld first encounters and becomes impressed by Wattana and her exceptional abilities with knots. In Wattana: An Orangutan in Paris Herzfeld tells not only Wattana’s fascinating story, but also the story of orangutans and other primates—including bonobos, chimpanzees, and gorillas—in captivity.
Offering a uniquely intimate look at the daily lives of captive great apes, Herzfeld uses Wattana’s life to trace the history of orangutans from their first arrival in Europe in 1776 to the inhabitants of the Zoo of Paris and other zoos today. She provides a close look at the habits, technical know-how, and skills of Wattana, who, remarkably, uses strings, paper rolls, rope, and even pieces of wood to make things. And she thoughtfully explores how apes individually—and often with ingenuity—come to terms with and adapt to their captive environments and caretakers. Through these stories, Wattana sympathetically reveals the extraordinary psychology and distinctive personalities of great apes as well as the interconnections between animal and human lives, especially in zoos.
Scientists predict that orangutans will disappear from the wild by 2030, and captive animals like Wattana may, as a result, provide our best chance to understand and appreciate their astonishing intelligence and abilities. Wattana, the accomplished maker of knots, is the hero of this poignant book, which will enthrall anyone curious about the lives of our primate cousins.
What does it mean to be female? Sarah Blaffer Hrdy--a sociobiologist and a feminist--believes that evolutionary biology can provide some surprising answers. Surprising to those feminists who mistakenly think that biology can only work against women. And surprising to those biologists who incorrectly believe that natural selection operates only on males.
In The Woman That Never Evolved we are introduced to our nearest female relatives competitive, independent, sexually assertive primates who have every bit as much at stake in the evolutionary game as their male counterparts do. These females compete among themselves for rank and resources, but will bond together for mutual defense. They risk their lives to protect their young, yet consort with the very male who murdered their offspring when successful reproduction depends upon it. They tolerate other breeding females if food is plentiful, but chase them away when monogamy is the optimal strategy. When "promiscuity" is an advantage, female primates--like their human cousins--exhibit a sexual appetite that ensures a range of breeding partners. From case after case we are led to the conclusion that the sexually passive, noncompetitive, all-nurturing woman of prevailing myth never could have evolved within the primate order.
Yet males are almost universally dominant over females in primate species, and Homo sapiens is no exception. As we see from this book, women are in some ways the most oppressed of all female primates. Sarah Blaffer Hrdy is convinced that to redress sexual inequality in human societies, we must first understand its evolutionary origins. We cannot travel back in time to meet our own remote ancestors, but we can study those surrogates we have--the other living primates. If women --and not biology--are to control their own destiny, they must understand the past and, as this book shows us, the biological legacy they have inherited.