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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 authors assert that traditional sociological theories of human nature and society do not pay sufficient attention to the evolution of "big-brained hominoids," resulting in assumptions about humans' propensity for "groupness" that go against the record of primate evolution. When this record is analyzed in detail, and is supplemented by a review of the social structures of contemporary apes and the basic types of human societies (hunter-gathering, horticultural, agrarian, and industrial), commonplace criticisms about the de-humanizing effects of industrial society appear overdrawn, if not downright incorrect. The book concludes that the mistakes in contemporary social theory - as well as much of general social commentary - stem from a failure to analyze humans as "big-brained" apes with certain phylogenetic tendencies. This failure is usually coupled with a willingness to romanticize societies of the past, notably horticultural and agrarian systems
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
For many years John Fleagle's text on the adaptation and evolution of primates and early hominoid fossils was the the text of choice for teachers and research workers alike. Now, as the only such work in print, this new edition brings this coverage up to date with the latest fossil finds and most current research. The book retains its grounding in the extant primate groups as the best way to understand the fossil trail and the evolution of these modern forms. But this coverage is now streamlined, making reference to the many new and excellent books on living primate ecology and adaptation - a field that has burgeoned since the first edition of Primate Adaptation and Evolution. By drawing out the key features of the extant families and referring to more detailed texts, Fleagle sets the scene and also creates space for a thorough updating of the exciting developments in primate palaeontology - and the reconstruction through early hominid species - of our own human origins. Illustrated with many of the classic pictures from earlier editions - and whole new suite of illustrations, revised evolutionary trees and tables - this book remains the indispensible text on this fascinating subject. Long-awaited revision of the standard student text on primate evolution Full coverage of newly discovered fossils and the latest taxonomy Over 200 new illustrations and revised evolutionary trees
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
Animal and human societies are multifaceted. In order to understand how they have evolved, it is necessary to investigate each of the constituent facets including individual abilities and personalities, life-history traits, mating systems, demographic dynamics, gene flows, social relationships, ecology and phylogeny. By exploring the nature and evolution of macaque social organization, this book develops our knowledge of the rise of societies and their transformation during the course of evolution. Macaques are the most comprehensively studied of all monkey groups, and the 20 known species feature a broad diversity in their social relationships, making them a particularly good group for exploring the evolution of societies. This book will be of primary interest to those studying animal behaviour and primatology, but will also be useful to those involved in the study of human societies.
What a big brain we have for all the small talk we make. It's an evolutionary riddle that at long last makes sense in this intriguing book about what gossip has done for our talkative species. Psychologist Robin Dunbar looks at gossip as an instrument of social order and cohesion--much like the endless grooming with which our primate cousins tend to their social relationships. Apes and monkeys, humanity's closest kin, differ from other animals in the intensity of these relationships. All their grooming is not so much about hygiene as it is about cementing bonds, making friends, and influencing fellow primates. But for early humans, grooming as a way to social success posed a problem: given their large social groups of 150 or so, our earliest ancestors would have had to spend almost half their time grooming one another--an impossible burden. What Dunbar suggests--and his research, whether in the realm of primatology or in that of gossip, confirms--is that humans developed language to serve the same purpose, but far more efficiently. It seems there is nothing idle about chatter, which holds together a diverse, dynamic group--whether of hunter-gatherers, soldiers, or workmates. Anthropologists have long assumed that language developed in relationships among males during activities such as hunting. Dunbar's original and extremely interesting studies suggest otherwise: that language in fact evolved in response to our need to keep up to date with friends and family. We needed conversation to stay in touch, and we still need it in ways that will not be satisfied by teleconferencing, email, or any other communication technology. As Dunbar shows, the impersonal world of cyberspace will not fulfill our primordial need for face-to-face contact. From the nit-picking of chimpanzees to our chats at coffee break, from neuroscience to paleoanthropology, Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language offers a provocative view of what makes us human, what holds us together, and what sets us apart.

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