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8 - Why Study Primates?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 September 2019

Joanna M. Setchell
Durham University
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We may already be convinced of the value of studying primates, but we often need to convince others of that value in proposals, reports and papers. This chapter covers the reasons to study primates, including appreciation of their fascinating diversity and adaptations, their important ecological functions, their evolutionary relationship with humans, their socio-cultural importance, concern for their captive welfare, and their conservation status.

Studying Primates
How to Design, Conduct and Report Primatological Research
, pp. 119 - 126
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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Fedigan, LM. 1992. Primate Paradigms: Sex Roles and Social Bonds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Discusses the problem of defining natural behaviour on pages 4749.Google Scholar
McKinney, T. 2015. A classification system for describing anthropogenic influence on nonhuman primate populations. American Journal of Primatology 77: 715726. A very useful analysis of the different dimensions of anthropogenic influence, and a standardised system for describing conditions at a study site.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rees, A. 2006. A place that answers questions: Primatological field sites and the making of authentic observations. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37: 311333. Examines the idealised notion of the field site as a natural place and how it has shaped primatology.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Boyd, R, Silk, JB. 2014. How Humans Evolved. 7th edn. New York: WW Norton & Company. Addresses how studying primates informs our understanding of human evolution.Google Scholar
Estrada, A, Garber, PA, Rylands, AB, Roos, C, Fernandez-Duque, E, Di Fiore, A, Nekaris, KAI, Nijman, V, Heymann, EW, Lambert, JE, Rovero, F, Barelli, C, Setchell, JM, Gillespie, TR, Mittermeier, RA, Arregoitia, LV, de Guinea, M, Gouveia, S, Dobrovolski, R, Shanee, S, Shanee, N, Boyle, SA, Fuentes, A, MacKinnon, KC, Amato, KR, Meyer, ALS, Wich, S, Sussman, RW, Pan, R, Kone, I, Li, B. 2017. Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances 3: e1600946. Reviews the conservation status of primates, concluding that the situation is dire, but there is still hope. Includes why primates matter.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fuentes, A. 2012. Ethnoprimatology and the anthropology of the human–primate interface. Annual Review of Anthropology 41: 101117. Reviews the study of human interactions with primates.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Phillips, KA, Bales, KL, Capitanio, JP, Conley, A, Czoty, PW, Hart, BA, Hopkins, WD, Hu, S-L, Miller, LA, Nader, MA, Nathanielsz, PW, Rogers, J, Shively, CA, Voytko, ML. 2014. Why primate models matter. American Journal of Primatology 76: 801827. Reviews why primates are used in biomedical research.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rosenthal, MF, Gertler, M, Hamilton, AD, Prasad, S, Andrade, MCB. 2017. Taxonomic bias in animal behaviour publications. Animal Behaviour 127: 8389. Addresses the existence and implications of taxonomic bias in research.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wich, SA, Marshall, AJ (eds.). 2016. Introduction to Primate Conservation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Details of the threats to primates and potential solutions.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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