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Primate Behavior

by: Mary Jo Davison Gould

Primate Behavior ANT 301

Mary Jo Davison Gould

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All you need to know about Primate Behavior
Edward Kirk
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mary Jo Davison Gould on Tuesday October 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ANT 301 at University of Texas at Austin taught by Edward Kirk in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views.


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Date Created: 10/04/16
Primate Behavior  Most animals are solitary  Most primates are social o Regular interactions and established relationships o Social interactions influence fitness  Ability to survive and reproduce  Most primates are gregarious o Live in cohesive, stable social groups Benefits of Group living  Finding and monopolizing resources  Predator detection, deterrence, dilution  Offspring care Costs of Group living  Resource competition o Males for females o Females for food  Disease transmission Primate Sociality  Social structure = ratio of adult males and females within a social group o Solitary (aye-aye, orangutan, mouse lemur) o Family (gibbon, indri, titi monkey) o Single Male/Multi female (langur, gorilla) o Multi male/multi female (chimpanzees, spider monkeys)  Mating system = how many individuals of the opposite sex a group member typically mates with o Monogamy (gibbon)  Extra-pair copulation o Polyandry (marmosets)  One female, several males o Polygyny (gorilla)  One male, several females o Polygynandry (brown lemur)  Sociobiology o Biological bases for social behavior  Kin selection  Males and females – different minimum investment to ensure offspring survival  Socioecology o Ecological bases for social behavior  Distribution abundance of resources in a habitat constrains and determines the nature of social relationships  Affiliative and Aggressive Behavior o Social behaviors can be often categorized as either affiliative (friendly) or agonistic (aggressive)  Grooming o Serves hygienic function  Remove ectoparasites, dead skin, debris from skin and hair o Strengthens social bond within a dyad (pair of individuals) o Allogrooming and autogrooming  Allogrooming – grooming someone else  Autogrooming- grooming yourself  Dominance o Asymmetry in fighting ability o Dominant individual has priority access to desired resources, ability to prevail in fights o Dominance Hierarchies change over time  Function of dominance hierarchy is to resolve conflicts efficiently and with minimum cost  Communication o Visual  Body posture  Facial expression  Display  Ritualized behaviors o Olfactory (smell)  Most common in strepsirrhines, tarsiers, and platyrrhines  Who you are, reproductive condition, social status, and emotional state  The do sent marking o Vocalizations  Can encode information about species or population affiliation, sex, age, and individual identity  Can contain information about intentions, objects, and social relationships  Contact, aggression, defense, alarm  Food, predators, social companions,  Dominance-subordinance relations  Studying primates o Techniques for studying primate behavior not standardized until 1974 o Methods were inadequate for statistical analyses o Biases  Men would focus on males and females would focus on females o Researches tended to record highly visible activities (fights) and neglected more subtle behaviors (social signaling with gaze direction) o Various methods for collecting data on primate behavior o Begin by constructing an ethogram  Detailed catalogue of species-typical behaviors  Examples: vocalizations, communication, aggressive/affiliative interactions, grooming, locomotion, resting, feeding, and copulation  Scan Sampling o Whole group of subjects is rapidly scanned at regular intervals, behavior of each individual at that instant is recorded  Focal Animal Sampling o Observing one individual for a specified amount of time, recording all instances of its behavior  Why study primate behavior o Provide models for possible past behavior of human ancestors o Insight into social nature and morphology of living creatures o Understand effects2 of physical and social environments on behavior o Humans are primates


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