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Lecture 8

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Lakehead University
Anthropology 1032
Trevor Orchard

Primate Behaviour 1 Why study living primates?  We need a broad-based comparative perspective to contextualize humans  Can’t only look at one species (i.e., Homo sapiens) ◦ Can only identify what makes humans different through comparison with non-humans.  Framework for the interpretation of human evolution  Aids in our understanding of past humans behavior through behaviour Does behavior evolve?  Yes; behaviours can be affected by natural selection ◦ Behavioural Ecology – study of behavioural evolution as a response to ecological factors. ◦ Some instinctual behaviours have genetic triggers  Behaviour results from complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors  Genes that will have a negative affect on future generations are eliminated without reproduction Early Primatology: Chimpanzees  Jane Goodall ◦ Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania  Project began in 1960 and is ongoing ◦ Observed and interacted with chimpanzees in their natural habitat. ◦ Revolutionized our views on chimp behaviour, society, and communication.  Tool manufacture/use  Hunting & carnivory (chimps were long thought to be vegetarians) The Primate Social Pattern  Gregarious (live in groups), except for Orangutans who live in solitude except when it is time to mate  Express themselves socially through various behaviours  Life long social cohesion  Social learning  The young will learn the expected norms and behaviours from their parents  Geographically-bounded  live in definable territories  Complex social organization hierarchy which dictates mating and food distribution  Age-graded, with overlapping generations  expectations depend on Primate ‘residence’patterns 1. One male, multifemale (polygynous) • Howler monkeys, langurs, gelada baboons, gorillas 2. One female, multi-male (polyandrous) • Some New World Monkeys; rare pattern 3. Multimale, multifemale • Many OWM (baboons), chimpanzees 4. All male – temporary groups of males • Some baboon species 5. One male, one female (monogamous) • Gibbons, siamangs, owl monkeys, marmosets, and some strepsirhines 6. Solitary – limited interaction for sexual activity • Orangutans; a few strepsirhine species Why are Primates Social?  Access to mates  Access to food  More bodies to get more food  Avoiding predators  Predators not likely to attack big groups  = Enhanced survival & reproduction Primate Social Behaviour  Dominance  Communication  Agression  Affiliation  Reproductive strategies  Culture 1 – Dominance  Dominance hierarchies ◦ Higher ranking individuals may have greater access to resources & mating partners  Position in hierarchy is learned   Dominating the “group” increases the chance of your genes being passed down  Factors that influence status in a group: ◦ Age & Sex  The older you are the higher your status  Not always male dominated ◦ Aggression ◦ Time in the group  The longer you’ve been in the group higher your status ◦ Intelligence & motivation ◦ Mother’s social position 2 – Communication  Gestures, facial expressions, vocalizations, displays  Can be used to indicate dominance, submission, emotional state (play, fear….) 3 – Aggression  Aggression can occur within and between groups  Reasons for aggression: ◦ Access to mates  The most important means for survival ◦ Access to resources ◦ Defense of territory 4 – Affiliative Behaviors – Cooperation  Reinforces social bonds & helps to maintain structure of group ◦ E.g. – Grooming  Altruism – behavior that benefits another, but poses a risk/sacrifice to oneself ◦ May relate to Kin Selection ◦ behaviour that does not evolve Primate Social Interaction  Establish close social bonds with one another, e.g. bonobo females  Use of grooming, the ritual cleaning of another animal’s coat  Among bonobos, chimps, gorillas, the mother-infant bond is strongest and most long-lasting 5 – Reproductive Strategies  Sexual behavior is tied to the female’s reproductive cycle ◦ No fixed breeding season  Exception – Bonobos may mate even when the female is not in estrus (not typical)  Permanent bonding – uncommon in nonhuman primates  Variability relates to residence patterns  Sexual selection – male competition for mates AND mate choice in females  E.g. Competition and Dimorphism 6 – Cultural Behaviour  Cultural behavior is learned & is passed from gener
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