To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
As should be obvious to anyone who has ever encountered primatologists and their obsessions, nonhuman primates can hold a strong emotional and intellectual sway. One appeal of nonhuman primates is their sheer variability. They occupy rainforest, desert, mountains, and grasslands. They can live in habitats ranging from the snows of Japan to the heat of Ethiopia. Their social structures include cooperative breeders, such as marmosets, and markedly uncooperative ones, such as savanna baboons, pair-bonded gibbons, and polygamous and polyandrous bonobos. There are also solitary orangutans and hamadryas who live in a complex, multi-tier system of small stable harems of half a dozen or so individuals that can temporarily merge into collections of hundreds of individuals.
Another realm of variability in primates is in their diet. At one extreme are species such as the mountain gorilla, whose diet is sufficiently narrow and specialized as to play a role in its endangerment. And at the other are opportunistic omnivores that flexibly exploit a wide array of food resources. Among the most extreme examples of the latter are savanna baboons. These species eat grass blades and corms, parts of trees, shrubs and tubers, insects, and they both hunt and scavenge meat. This has allowed baboons to successfully occupy the grasslands, forests, and arid highlands of Africa.
Primatologists have long been fascinated by the dominance hierarchies of their study subjects. A number of early researchers attributed what was, in retrospect, an inappropriate power to an animal's rank in predicting its reproductive success, degree of attractivity to the opposite sex, willingness to defend other individuals against predators, and so on. Many of these misconceptions were clarified with the emergence of new theoretical constructs, such as the recognition of female choice, of alternative competitive strategies among individuals, or the importance of kin-based models of natural selection. In the wake of some of this early overenthusiasm for the explanatory power of rank, a number of individuals questioned the validity of the rank concept – whether such dyadic assymetries actually occur under most ecological conditions (e.g., Rowell, 1974), and whether the animals themselves “understood” rank in a meaningful way (as opposed to a hierarchy merely being an artificial construct projected by human observers) (e.g., Bernstein, 1981).
Despite these critiques, dominance hierarchies have remained close to the hearts of many primatologists, and are thought to occur among many species and to provide a meaningful way to understand individual differences in the experiences and quality of life of non-human primates. Out of this has emerged a considerable number of studies built around the premise that rank in such hierarchies helps to explain individual differences in the physiology of primates, with important implications for understanding disease patterns and differential fitness.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.