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1. A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's
2. The Primate Family Tree: The Amazing
3. Primate Behavioral Ecology (4th
4. Primates in Perspective
5. Primate Visions: Gender, Race,
6. The Pictorial Guide to the Living
7. Primates and Philosophers: How
8. Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior
9. The Believing Primate: Scientific,
10. The First Idea: How Symbols, Language,
11. Primate Societies
12. Primate Taxonomy (Smithsonian
13. The Ethical Primate: Humans, Freedom
14. Primate Anatomy, Third Edition:
15. Evolutionary History of the Primates
16. Primate Adaptation and Evolution,
17. Sexual Coercion in Primates and
18. Seasonality in Primates: Studies
19. Training Nonhuman Primates Using
20. Primate Behaviour: Information,

1. A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons
by Robert M. Sapolsky
Paperback: 304 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$6.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743202414
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

"I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla," writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist's coming-of-age in remote Africa.

An exhilarating account of Sapolsky's twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate's Memoir interweaves serious scientific observations with wry commentary about the challenges and pleasures of living in the wilds of the Serengeti -- for man and beast alike. Over two decades, Sapolsky survives culinary atrocities, gunpoint encounters, and a surreal kidnapping, while witnessing the encroachment of the tourist mentality on the farthest vestiges of unspoiled Africa. As he conducts unprecedented physiological research on wild primates, he becomes evermore enamored of his subjects -- unique and compelling characters in their own right -- and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevents him.

By turns hilarious and poignant, A Primate's Memoir is a magnum opus from one of our foremost science writers.Amazon.com Review
Robert Sapolsky, the author of Why Zebras Don't GetUlcers and other popular books on animal and human behavior,decided early in life to become a primatologist, volunteering at theAmerican Museum of Natural History and badgering his high school principalto let him study Swahili to prepare for travel in Africa. When he set out to conduct fieldwork as a young graduate student, though, Sapolsky found that life among a Kenyan baboon troop was markedly different from his earlier bookish studies. Among other things, he confesses, he had to become a master of shooting anesthetic darts into his subjects with a blowgun to take blood samples, a mastery that required him to become "a leering slinky silent quicksilver baboon terror." He also had to learn how to negotiate the complexities of baboon politics, endure the difficulties of life in the bush, and subsist on cases of canned mackerel and beans.

His memoir is, in the main, quite humorous, although Sapolsky flings a fewdarts along the way at the late activist Dian Fossey--who, he hints, mayhave indirectly caused the deaths of her beloved mountain gorillas by herunstable, irrational dealings with local people--and at local bureaucratswhose interests did not often coincide with those of Sapolsky's wildcharges. It is also full of good information on primates and primatology, asubject whose practitioners, it seems, are constantly fighting to savespecies and ecosystems. "Every primatologist I know is losing that battle,"he writes. "They make me think of someone whose unlikely job would be tocollect snowflakes, to rush into a warm room and observe the uniquepattern under a microscope before it melts and is never seen again."--Gregory McNamee ... Read more

Customer Reviews (78)

5-0 out of 5 stars On Tourists and Baboons...
"A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons" is a series of chronological essays about Dr. Sapolsky's research in Africa. While I don't expect you to start darting tourists in museums to take their blood and analyze their stress hormone levels after reading this book, if you're entertaining such thoughts, it shows your true potential in usability research! [...]

5-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected, But In A Good Way
Though the title clearly states "memoir", I still thought this book would mostly be about baboons and their lives. However, that is actually only a component of the book, and a somewhat small component at that.

The book opens typically, with background info on the author, and how he got to where he went, what he was doing there, etc. Scattered throughout the chapters are stories of baboons, but the book was largely about Saplosky's adventures in Africa.

Stories of desert crossings, gorilla pilgramages to the mountains, encounters with "wild" bushman, etc etc. It was a real slice of life type book, covering not only the happy, successful aspects of fieldwork, but also the down and dirty, unhappy times. This was truly an adventure book, with chapters that were at times so exciting I literally had to keep reading to see how he'd get himself out of some given situation.

Though I bought it to learn about primates (baboons specifically), it did let me down in that regard. However, as a whole, the book might have taught me even more. Plus it made me laugh out loud, and any book that can make me laugh (not smile, not smirk, not giggle) is always worth a read.

5-0 out of 5 stars At it's core - an alarming book.
A friend gave me this book to read. I'm convinced that is the best way to get a book recommendation. Your friends know you best. I loved this book. It's funny. It's sad and you learn so much about a country and its people and animals to which most of us will never be exposed.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Hero
Sapolsky is a hero: courageous, conscientious, well intentioned, adaptable, sensitive, hardworking.He enjoys both people and nature.As a younger man (memoir spans many years), he is too adventurous:I was almost offended by his hitchhiking adventures, in which his naiveté could easily have gotten him killed.

This is a fascinating memoir, written in a light,wry style. The picture Sapolsky paints ofEast African life is filled with many good people, but endemic corruption, and at the end Sapolsky allows his anger to show.Many elements of Massai tradition are difficult for a Western liberal to accept.

The most significant aspect of baboon behavior, for me, is that there is room for marked difference in individual personality unrelated to status or circumstance. Sapolsky is a little understated about the dangers baboons face (cf. Cheney, Dorothy L. and Robert M. Seyfarth:Baboon Metaphysics), but perhaps this varies by location - Sapolsky's troop did not have to worry about crocodiles for example; and Sapolsky is understated about the dangers he himself faced.

3-0 out of 5 stars Should have stuck to the baboons.
This book isn't about baboons, it's about Sapolsky and happens to contain baboons in it. I like Sapolsky's style of writing about the baboons, but the amount of pages on them are really not very much. Sapolsky applaudably abandons the rigid, old-style scientific "objectivity" in describing the stories of the baboons and tells them as they should be told. I liked how he spoke of who and what actions he liked and disliked (even what baboons he fancied). However he shows no remorse or acknowledgement of issues with darting and anesthetizing the baboons.

Even in the non-baboon chapters, Sapolsky seems intent on telling us how this or that made him feel and interestingly seems to have remarkable (and questionable) insight into how others are feeling or thinking. With such subjective banter one might very well wonder if it doesn't also reflect into the chapters on the baboons. But much of it is just I went here and there etc.

I suppose those parts can be good if you're into the "adventure in the savannas and other strange lands of Africa" type of book, and the rest if you can take Sapolsky's word on some things. But if you wanted to get a book to read about baboons, be warned that they're only a part of this one. And it's a shame because he does write very well on them. ... Read more

2. The Primate Family Tree: The Amazing Diversity of Our Closest Relatives
by Ian Redmond
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2008-10-10)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$11.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1554073782
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Apes, monkeys, lemurs -- and other family members.

The Primate Family Tree is a beautiful and comprehensive resource on the subject of our animal relatives. Readers will find an abundance of up-to-date facts, review the latest research and conservation efforts, and discover the remarkable characteristics that all primates -- including humans -- share.

The book is structured according to the four main branches of the primate family tree and contains expert information on the natural history, characteristics and behavior of over 250 species, along with maps showing the ranges of the species. Some of the topics covered are:

  • Definition of a primate
  • Darwin's big idea, anthropological theories, DNA
  • The structure of the primate family tree
  • Distribution of species, including lorises and lemurs
  • Diet, habitat, life cycles, social structure, communication
  • Primate emotions
  • Primates as "gardeners of the forest"
  • Issues involving conservation, bush meat, civil war, habitat loss
  • Primate tourism: Does it help or hurt?

With its authoritative text, color photographs taken in the field, range maps and classification diagrams, The Primate Family Tree is a comprehensive reference on a subject that is vitally important to all humans.

(20081011) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Probably interesting to the right audience
Although it did not turn out to interest me a lot, this book might be good for a different audience. It is a well done but rather superficial introduction to the primates. It would serve as a good introduction to primates for someone with limited knowledge on the subject, a teenager interested in the subject, or an advanced child with an interest inmonkeys and apes.

The book starts off with a decent introduction to the primate family, its features, its distribution, and its evolution. It then goes through each group of primates with descriptions and observations. The result is more coffee table book than I was hoping for, but it has its place. With a lot of good pictures and and a simple style it could be a good starting point to learn about primates. ... Read more

3. Primate Behavioral Ecology (4th Edition)
by Karen B. Strier
Paperback: 432 Pages (2010-09-06)
list price: US$74.67 -- used & new: US$58.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0205790178
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Primate Behavioral Ecology, described as “an engaging, cutting-edge exposition,” incorporates exciting new discoveries and the most up-to-date approaches in its introduction to the field and its applications of behavioral ecology to primate conservation.


Linda L. Taylor of the University of Miami declares, “I can't imagine teaching a course on primate behavior or ecology without this text. ...Strier's writing style is a huge asset to keeping current information comprehensible for the target audience.”


This unique, comprehensive, single-authored text integrates the basics of evolutionary, ecological, and demographic perspectives with contemporary noninvasive molecular and hormonal techniques to understand how different primates behave and the significance of these insights for primate conservation. Examples are drawn from the “classic” primate field studies and more recent studies on previously neglected species from across the primate order, illustrating the vast behavioral variation that we now know exists and the gaps in our knowledge that future studies will fill.


William C. McGrew of the University of Cambridge, UK states, “Overall, the synthesis and integration are outstanding…this is one of the best organized textbooks that I have ever seen, in any field…it is clear that Strier is actively involved in the forefront and not some armchair type!”

... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking to say the least.
Book is great, thought provoking, and is a must-read for how the variables of resources, environment, and gender differences impact behavior. I am taking the Author's course, however, at UW-Madison, so my inherent bias must be stated.

4-0 out of 5 stars Accurate description
There was a little wear and tear and some hi-lighting, but the condition was as described.I was happy with this purchase.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Survey Text
A good survey text of primate social ecology. Strier's work among new world primates makes this book better than most which are too heavily biased towards macaque and chimp studies. ... Read more

4. Primates in Perspective
by Christina Campbell, Agustin Fuentes, Katherine MacKinnon, Simon Bearder, Rebecca Stumpf
Paperback: 864 Pages (2010-04-23)
list price: US$79.95 -- used & new: US$71.70
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Asin: 0195390431
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Featuring forty-seven original essays by seventy leading researchers, Primates in Perspective, Second Edition, offers a comprehensive and contemporary overview of all major areas of primatology. Thoroughly revised and updated throughout, the second edition offers a diversity of theoretical positions on such topics as reproduction, ecology, and social behavior and intelligence.

Primates in Perspective, Second Edition, is ideal for introductory primatology courses and can also be used in upper-division behavior and conservation courses. Additionally, it is an essential reference for primate researchers. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars useful book for primatology students
great book if you are interested in learning all about primates. Students or professionals can still learn a lot by reading some of the chapters.

4-0 out of 5 stars primate lover
this book gives you all you need to know about primates with it being easy to read

4-0 out of 5 stars A great guide for budding primatologists
As a student interested in primatology, at a college without any primatology courses, this book was extremely useful for helping me understand the field better. I recommend to all who are interested in primates!

2-0 out of 5 stars Very Difficult Book
I am taking a class at Harvard University, and this book WAS required for it.Not any more.While it is understandable that a text for a graduate level priamtology class should be challenging, the way this book is organized makes it very dificult to truly get any meaning from the text.The major complaint is that there is lots of text simply summarizing data or describing the various primates.For example there are 1 1/2 pages describing the range of a group of New-World monkeys in South America.I would have found it useful to include a map of this range since I am hardly an expert in the local geography of the Amazon Basin.Simpliy stating names of locations does me no good.The data that they do present are usually in table form-- but there is so much of it (tables are often 2-4 pages long) that it is extremely difficult to get any meaning from them.What would be much more useful would be transforming much of the data into graph/chart form to visulaize what the data mean.Moreover, many of the groups of primates are simply described in the text-- having a diagram or picture as an example of the subject would be extremely useful.

To summarize, there is plenty of information in this text, but it is written in such a way that it is virtually incomprehensible, and the text lacks graphical interpretations of the data and examples of the subject matter that would proivde auseful support.That is why our professor elected to drop the reading from this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best primate books out there!
This book is great!It includes practically every living primate there is and it is broken down into a very understandible and practical way.I have used this book for a case study I am working on it has helps loads.My professor is one of the editors on this book and all I have to say is, job well done!!I would recomend this book to anybody who is doing research in the feild or just has an interest in primates, it is that comprehensible! ... Read more

5. Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science
by Donna J. Haraway
Paperback: 496 Pages (1990-08-22)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$34.99
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Asin: 0415902940
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Haraway's discussions of how scientists have perceived the sexual nature of female primates opens a new chapter in feminist theory, raising unsettling questions about models of the family and of heterosexuality in primate research. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars ideological propaganda
I am intensely interested in this subject and was interested in Haraway's take on it until I read this account of it inThe Metaphysics of Apes by Raymond Corey on page 159-60 (paperback)--

"Primate Visions was widely read and discussed, faourably by most kindred spirits, but more critically by primatologgists themselves, who felt the book seriously underestimated the role of hard empirical facts concerning primates in the development of their theories, whatever their context of discovery and social backgrounds. Primatology, Vernon Reynolds wrote, "is not just story-telling, it interfaces with the physical world as well. One goes out and observes...new things...hitherto disregarded facts." Haraway's deconstructionist perspective "has no handle on the possiblity of an improved understanding of the non-human world...[it] does not touch on the real scientific eneterprise" (Reynolds 1991: 198). Haraway's book is fascinating and has much to offer, but its intellectualist language, use of metaphors, and mixing of genres did not contribute to a favourable reception in primatological circles. It was also pointed out that Haraway's anti-racist and feminist analysis tended to set male primatology up as its own Orient, interpreted in terms of her own (too) radically postmodernist, deconstructionist intellectual preoccupations and political intentions; that to Haraway herself, likewise, non-human primates mattered primarily in terms of their meanings for humans and not so much for what they were themselves (Landau1991).

"Once again, in a fashion that bore the mark of the 1980s, there was dissension concerning the interpretation of the ape-human boundary. Haraway's own agenda was dislocating and destablilizing that boundary, exploring its permeability, and thus remapping the borderlands between nature and culture and "facilitating revisionings of fundamental, persistent western narratives about difference, especially racial and sexual difference (Haraway 1989: 3377, cf. 15). Most primatologists, on the other hand, prefer to keep their research concerns and their often intense moral concerns separated (cf Be et al. 2001)"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, thought-provoking work
Although Haraway is better known for her later Cyborg Manifesto, Primate Visions is arguably better and more insightful, and is certainly a clearer and more accessible work.Primate Visions takes the reader through the history of primatology, tracing the science's roots in racism, sexism, and colonialism.Haraway begins by outlining the early 20th century American museum exhibits that furthered the racist agenda of social Darwinism, and moves through descriptions of inhumane psychological research done on primates, the implications of young women recruited to do some of the first field work with apes (including Jane Goodall), and feminist sociobiological and anthropological theories.Haraway's intense prose is supplemented by provocative and heart-wrenching illustrations.All in all, a book that challenges our preconceptions of scientific research as incorruptible and free of bias. ... Read more

6. The Pictorial Guide to the Living Primates
by Noel Rowe
 Paperback: 263 Pages (1996-08)
list price: US$59.95 -- used & new: US$37.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0964882515
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars PIctures, pictures, pictures!
With a title including the words "pictorial guide", you can probably gather that this book is heavily laced with photographs of primates throughout. It does not disappoint. This is certainly more "coffee table book" than a leisure read.

The book is layed out starting with prosimians and ending with great apes, documenting a total of 234 species of primates. Lemurs to capuchins, baboons to orangutans, colobi to gibbons, they're all covered. Each picture is accompanied with a brief but detailed write up, indicating a map showing the home range of the primate, general info on it's taxonomy, conservation status, social structure, and other facts. It's amazing to note how extremely tiny the home range of some of these species are, a barely distinguishable dot on the map.

I found it rather sad as I flipped through the wonderful pictures in this book, reading about these beautiful and intelligent creatures, how many of them had the status of endangered or critically endangered. It's depressing to think that if things keep going the way they are now, the only place these primates will exist in the future is on the pages of books like these.

I gave it five stars for excellent information, and for being one of the best collections of primate photos I've seen to date. Though the write-ups are scientific, I think even children would enjoy this book for the pictures. The photograph captions are easy to read, and often amusing.

*** Not to nitpick or second guess the author or his sources, but I have done some work with gibbons personally, and worked with people who have devoted their adult lives to gibbon research, and though it's written here that they fail self awareness tests (mirror tests), many (not all) gibbons have been shown to recognize themselves when presented a mirror.***

3-0 out of 5 stars Good if you are studying primates, not for the average layman
If you are keen to study primates or currently studying primates, then this will make an excellent reference guide. However, the images and font size can be rather small and the layout is not fantastic. Rather technical in nature and relatively high use of scientic terms which can make reading a chore if you are reading merely for interest. Will recommend this only if you are a hardcore student of primate-tology.

5-0 out of 5 stars very great book
I'm a student taking combined master and doctoral degree and study about gibbons.
My teacher has this book, So I could borrow and read it.
There are many pictures and general explain about species.
Finally, I got this book, I am very happy.
If you are interested in primate or a student who study primate,
you should have this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
This well-written book has extensive information and photos on all of the primates in the world, including homo sapiens. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants an in-depth look at our own "extended family."

5-0 out of 5 stars EVERY PRIMATE. WOW!
This has every primate and all the stats you could possibly imagine for each one. As I am a stats man, this is all that's needed to make me happy. Also, there's a color photo for each individual primate, except for the EXTREMELY RARE ones. Also holds the record for sparking my interest in PRIMATOLAGY about a month ago. ... Read more

7. Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved (Princeton Science Library)
by Frans de Waal
Paperback: 232 Pages (2009-01-12)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691141290
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"It's the animal in us," we often hear when we've been bad. But why not when we're good? Primates and Philosophers tackles this question by exploring the biological foundations of one of humanity's most valued traits: morality.

In this provocative book, primatologist Frans de Waal argues that modern-day evolutionary biology takes far too dim a view of the natural world, emphasizing our "selfish" genes. Science has thus exacerbated our reciprocal habits of blaming nature when we act badly and labeling the good things we do as "humane." Seeking the origin of human morality not in evolution but in human culture, science insists that we are moral by choice, not by nature.

Citing remarkable evidence based on his extensive research of primate behavior, de Waal attacks "Veneer Theory," which posits morality as a thin overlay on an otherwise nasty nature. He explains how we evolved from a long line of animals that care for the weak and build cooperation with reciprocal transactions. Drawing on both Darwin and recent scientific advances, de Waal demonstrates a strong continuity between human and animal behavior. In the process, he also probes issues such as anthropomorphism and human responsibilities toward animals.

Based on the Tanner Lectures de Waal delivered at Princeton University's Center for Human Values in 2004, Primates and Philosophers includes responses by the philosophers Peter Singer, Christine M. Korsgaard, and Philip Kitcher and the science writer Robert Wright. They press de Waal to clarify the differences between humans and other animals, yielding a lively debate that will fascinate all those who wonder about the origins and reach of human goodness.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars a biological basis for good and evil
For me the most interesting part are theexperiments with apes and monkeys and the examples of their behaviour, that proof the continuity between human morality and animal conduct. I find less interesting the philosophical part. A good start point for a more thorough research.I hope that future DNA analysis will show the genetic basis of morality in general as well as religion preferences (an elaborate form of morality).I believe that religion preferences are genetically based (or biased) and, for example, the semitic people must have some geneticmake-up whichmake them more prone to monotheistic faith whereas this idea seems less atractive to chinese or japanese . It would explain the oddity of jewish creed in the ancient Middle East.It would be interesting to explore from a genetic point of view the morality in other species very different of monkeys , apes and us like vampires, that share food (blood) with mates in need (similar a give an alm) and punish defectors, and social insects .Perhaps there are common DNA sequences involved.Since an organism is a society of cells perhaps DNA analysis of Volvox can give us a clue.

1-0 out of 5 stars Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved
There is absolutely no scientific evidence explaining how we evolved from a long line of animals, and a pure farce that the author is drawing on any recent scientific advances. Even Richard Dawkins, born in Nairobi, now believes we probably came from another planet, i.e. DNA deposited by spacemen, eons of time ago. We all are just discussing semantics here, spacemen, god, whatever, but anyone that buys this book is a disgraced neo-evolutionist without any evidence whatsoever. Prove me wrong someone?

5-0 out of 5 stars A great (and brief) read into the issue of Morality.
This is a great book if only because it provides views from five different scholars. "In the Tanner Lectures on Human Values that became the lead essay in this book, Frans de Waal brings his decades of work with primates, and his habit of thinking deeply about the meaning of evolution, to bear upon a fundamental question about human morality. Three distinguished philosophers and a prominent student of evolutionary psychology then respond to the way de Waal's question is framed, and to his answer. Their essays are at once appreciative of de Waal's endeavor and critical of certain of his conclusions. De Waal responds to his critics in an afterword."

The main thrust of de Waal's essay is what he calls "Veneer Theory," which is the argument that morality is only a thin veneer overlaid on an amoral or immoral core. The first to respond is Robert Wright (The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life), who states that he is in fact not an adherent to de Waal's Veneer Theory. Second is Christine M. Korsgaard (Self-Constitution: Agency, Identity, and Integrity), who denies that Veneer Theory is even real. Third is Philip Kitcher (Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith (Philosophy in Action)), who generally attacks Veneer Theory as not being relevant to bridging the divide between primates and humans. The fourth, last, and my personal favorite, comes from Peter Singer (The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty). Singer, I believe, does the greatest justice to the entire argument and I happen to agree with almost everything he says. Singer states, "The issue, then, is not so much whether we accept the Veneer Theory of morality, but rather how much of morality is veneer, and how much is underlying structure. Those who claim that all of morality is a veneer laid over a basically individualistic, selfish human nature, are mistaken. Yet a morality that goes beyond our own group and shows impartial concern for all human beings might well be seen as a veneer over the nature we share with other social mammals."

In conclusion, I think this is a valuable book and do recommend it. I would also recommend getting Michael Tomasello's Why We Cooperate (Boston Review Books) as it is similar in nature and style. Lastly, I would also mention that Frans de Waal mentions a research experiment in which he "demonstrates" primate empathy, but as Tomasello points out, "But studies [contra de Waal] from three different laboratories in the case of the capuchins, and from our laboratory in the case of the chimpanzees, have all found that this is a spurious result in that it does not depend on a social comparison at all. One of the studies found that simply seeing and expecting to receive the grape makes the cucumber look less attractive to chimpanzees. No other individuals need to be around. There is no social comparison going on, only food comparison. So nothing related to norms of fairness are at work either (pg. 32)." Hope that helps.

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book by Frans de Waal
A new paradigma for the philosophy of man, moral and society, emotions and cognition.
The commentaries by other authors supplementing the theory by Frans de Waal show some more problems and contribute definitely to the development of a new paradigma for both humaniora and social sciences.
A book to be fond of.

1-0 out of 5 stars A bridge too far
Having read all Frans de Waal's books and - although they strongly tend to repeat the same accounts - having enjoyed them, I bought this one more or less blindly. Alas, the author who is considered one of the world's leading primatologists, overstepped himself. The leading idea of the book is a kind of Kant's Categorical Imperative that alledgedly also applies to animals. The proof of the "good", the morally correct behaviour in apes is proven by the authors observation of an ape, having found a wounded bird, treating it delicately and then gently throwing it into the air as to make it fly again. One may wonder if De Waal as a child ever played with delta-winged aeroplanes made of folded paper. More than the proof of the fact that an ape understands that a bird should fly and perhaps that in some sense it can play like a human child, can in my perception not be deduced from this observation and the whole theory based on it by the Waal is not worthy of any scientific standard, not to say that it is plainly nonsensical. In fact the book does not deserve any star at all. ... Read more

8. Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-10-15)
list price: US$25.50 -- used & new: US$19.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674010043
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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How did we become the linguistic, cultured, and hugely successful apes that we are? Our closest relatives--the other mentally complex and socially skilled primates--offer tantalizing clues. In Tree of Origin nine of the world's top primate experts read these clues and compose the most extensive picture to date of what the behavior of monkeys and apes can tell us about our own evolution as a species.

It has been nearly fifteen years since a single volume addressed the issue of human evolution from a primate perspective, and in that time we have witnessed explosive growth in research on the subject. Tree of Origin gives us the latest news about bonobos, the "make love not war" apes who behave so dramatically unlike chimpanzees. We learn about the tool traditions and social customs that set each ape community apart. We see how DNA analysis is revolutionizing our understanding of paternity, intergroup migration, and reproductive success. And we confront intriguing discoveries about primate hunting behavior, politics, cognition, diet, and the evolution of language and intelligence that challenge claims of human uniqueness in new and subtle ways.

Tree of Origin provides the clearest glimpse yet of the apelike ancestor who left the forest and began the long journey toward modern humanity.

(20010401) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent essays
These essays--by some of the best names in the field--cover broadly everything you might want to know about our distant past. I especially enjoyed the works on culture and language, but I encourage anyone who reads this book not to cherry-pick the essays, but instead to read it cover-to-cover including the notes provided for the text, which, contrary to being mere academic citations, were instead fascinating commentary not to be missed!

If I were teaching a class about humans, I would include this as a text, and I am thinking of encouraging my (older) children to read it over the summer as an adjunct to their studies in Biology.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ideas that snap, crackle and pop
I checked this book out of the local library many weeks ago, having come across it via a desultory shelf scan. I was so engrossed by the book, I kept renewing it, then returned it to the library and bought my own copy.

Each chapter got my synapses firing with interesting information about how the evolution of human culture might be inferred from primate behaviors and primate and human physiology. I scribbled numerous notes that started with "I wonder if ... " or "Is it possible that ...", using the data from the authors as jumping-off points.

For example, before I read the book, I'd been wondering if it'd be possible to identify and track back as far as possible in time a collection of aphorisms that all cultures shared, such as "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach," to see what might be learned about our cultural evolution - and how closely our "culture" was actually tied to our physiological hard-wiring. Lo and behold, one of the articles in Tree of Origin appears to offer a heart-through-stomach theory for how humans came to pair off as couples.

The discussion about the size of our neocortex (neocortices?) and its relationship to the size of social groups we can "manage" expanded another line of thinking on my part about what might really be at the roots of what we call racism and of our propensity toward bloody conflict. It's possible that one core cause is our brains' maximum capacity for social complexity, rather than "just" a learned behavior that one can discard through an intellectual process.

The book reminded me of Desmond Morris' books, The Human Ape and The Human Zoo, both of which I also found fascinating.

Now that I own this book, I can re-read it and mark it up as I wish!

5-0 out of 5 stars Essays on our roots
The greatest scientific quest is finding our place in Nature.This leading primatologist has collected a series of essays on primate behaviour in an outstanding effort aimed at answering that question.De Waal's credentials as a student of chimpanzee behaviour are well-known.He's joined here by researchers of equal status in presenting the most recent findings in the field.De Waal states in the Introduction that research in human behaviour falls into two camps - human beings are an entirely unique species or human evolutionary roots are visible in many of our related species.He and his fellow essayists adhere to the second theme, the one that has gained significant adherence over the past several decades of research."The proliferation of research on monkeys and apes . . . has influenced the way we look at our place in nature."

This collection brings to view much of that research, a compendium long overdue in de Waal's estimation.His team provides new insights into primate behaviour.They combine the research finding with speculations on how modern monkeys and apes reflect the evolutionary roots of our own relations with each other.The topics covered show the impact of environment, the patterns of sex and reproduction, social organization and cognition.The collection addresses the "process of hominization" leading from ape-like ancestors to modern humans.If all this sounds like a series of lofty scientific pedantry, fear not.All the authors present their information in open, conversational style.Although the result of a scholarly seminar, the writing throughout is clear and unpretentious.Anyone interested in their evolutionary roots or in the status of the research will find this collection rewarding.

The quality of this compilation makes choice of place difficult, if not impossible.Each author presents new information and delightful analyses of the importance of the findings.Craig Stanford discusses the role of meat eating [not hunting] in building social relationships.Studied closely in the field in both ape and human societies, meat distribution and sex have a clear evolutionary role.Richard Wrangham carries this theme a step further in his analysis of the social role of food preparation - cooking.He stresses how early cooking must have emerged in hominid evolution and what its likely social impact was in our development.Richard Byrne extends this analysis to describe several forms of food acquisition and processing among various primate species.

If any issue transcends the others in the role of humanity, it is that of human cognition.To those contending only human cognitive abilities are worth studying, several authors respond that "evolution does not proceed by inspired jumps . . . but by accretion of beneficial variants" over time.In order to comprehend the evolutionary path of cognition, definitions are of primary importance.Cognition is here defined as "a species' package of information-processing capabilities" encompassing individual, social, technical and other skills.Robin Dunbar shows how these skills were likely reinforced through selectively chosen group size.He examines variations in primate group size and how these impact social behavior.Charles Snowdon addresses the mainstay of human "uniqueness" in an outline of language
development.In the final essay, William McGrew considers the question of "culture."What is it and how was it derived? McGrew refers to eight criteria, developed many years ago by Alfred Koeber, and applies them in a historical context.McGrew emphasizes that humans are not the only social species.Language enhanced abilities inherited from our predecessors.

This book addresses older ideas and breaks new ground.With a strong foundation in the intensive primate studies achieved during the past three decades, the collection calls for further studies in the field.What these will bring to light will increase our knowledge of where we fit in Nature.There are assuredly many surprises remaining to be revealed.Will you help search for answers to some of these questions? ... Read more

9. The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2009-04-15)
list price: US$59.95 -- used & new: US$46.72
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Asin: 0199557020
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Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primateaims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions. ... Read more

10. The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans
by Stanley I. Greenspan, Stuart Shanker
Paperback: 512 Pages (2006-02-06)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$9.98
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Asin: 0306814498
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the childhood of every human being and at the dawn of human history there is an amazing and, until now, unexplained leap from simple genetically programmed behavior to language, symbolic thinking, and culture. In The First Idea, Stanley Greenspan and Stuart Shanker explore this missing link and offer brilliant new insights into two longstanding questions: how human beings first create symbols and how these abilities evolved and were transmitted across generations over millions of years. From fascinating research into the intelligence of both human infants and apes, they identify certain cultural practices that are vitally important if we are to have stable and reflective future societies.

"Gives the reader a deeper appreciation of the power and formative potential of human emotional interaction.... Through their creative thinking about emotional interpersonal aspects of early human development, Greenspan and Shanker have helped us to find our bearings for the intellectual fight ahead." -Nature ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

3-0 out of 5 stars A tough read...
There seem to be two distinct writing styles in this book. One is overly formal, using eclectic jargon that nobody but a scholar in this field would understand; one is laid back and frivolous - almost too conversational.

Although the book has some good ideas and suggests useful paradigms, it is very difficult to read. However, the friend who recommended this book to me because of my autistic granddaughter swears by it.

Like any "textbook" some will get a lot out of it, others, like me, won't.

5-0 out of 5 stars A classic
This book is written with a very exquisit languaje, very comprehensiveley written for everybody not just especialist in psychology. It is a classic, i fully recomend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars The First Idea is a great idea!
This is a very interesting subject.While some of it seems a bit repetitious, it is very well researched and presents a fascinating view of human evolution.This book isn't for everyone, but everyone should understand what it's about.My personal view is that the author's downplay the role of genetics a bit too much.More likely, imho, genetics and cultural transmission had to work in tandem.But even with that minor criticism, this book presents a strong case for examining the role of emotional signaling and the importance of it for the development of our young.The family leave provisions in the US are pitiful compared to other industrialized countries.The first year is such a critical time in the development of a child that it should not be left to strangers at a day care center.After reading this book that will become abundantly clear to the reader.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Book of the Century
This book should rank as one of the most important books published in the decade if not the century. Stanley Greenspan has studied the emotional development of children for twenty years and has developed insights about the development of mental processing in children. He has tested these insights by applying them to developing strategies for helping children diagnosed with autism. These strategies have brought a majority of such children close to or into the normal range of mental functioning. It seems to me to be "a cure for autism"!

Now, in this book, he and coauthor Shanker show how emotional interactions with children-playing with them, especially in long chains of back and forth connections that are fun for both adult and child-leads the child to the steps required for cognitive development. Emotions are not inferior to thinking, they are the foundation of the development of thinking.

The authors cite MRI data on the creation of synaptic connections in the brain associated with emotional experiences and relate that to Greenspan's work to hypothesize that human cognitive development has been accelerated by the accretion of gains made in one generation of children onto the next generation through the enhanced emotional and cognitive advances resulting from caregiving practices, generation after generation. In other words, they are positing the evolution of the human mind not through genetic change but through coevolving caregiving practices.

This hypothesis solves one of the most puzzling matters of human evolution-how did human beings surge in cognitive development in the last 8 or 10 thousand years, much too fast for genetic change. The authors' answer is that there was not genetic change, but there was the capacity for cognitive enhancement during the early growth of individuals through interaction with caregivers. And as the interactive patterns of caregivers with infants and children developed, so also did the number and complexity of synaptic connections in the brains of the children individually and, over time, cumulatively and collectively.

The implications of this insight are astounding. They provide a foundational basis for all human sciences that can lead to ways of diagnosing cognitive, behavioral and emotional difficulties on the basis of core causes rather than mere observational data as is currently the case with DSM IV. And arising from that, clinical work with such people can become at least as scientifically informed as physical medicine.

But there are larger implications for public policy and education. This approach provides a basis for saying reactive behavior and narrow frames of reference are not just individual ways of being, but are examples of developmental delays and should be dealt with as such, with compassion, indeed, but also with clarity regarding what they are.

The book is not as easy read, especially the later chapters, but there are few books ever written that more deserve to be read and understood.

5-0 out of 5 stars Emotions plus a desire to interact plus evolution = language
When asked to cite what he believed but couldn't prove, Dan Dennett responded by saying that language was required for consciousness.

Interestingly Dennett's view easily harmonizes with strong trends in contemporary wisdom.The larger view is that there is something particular and special about humans and their capacity for language that is materially different than what evolutionarily has preceded them.

This book is a breath of fresh air for its helpful insight that humans are not materially different from what preceded them just more articulated in their thought processes and means of communicating them.

In seriatim the book traces infant development for the capacity of spoken language and compares that developing capacity with different species of animals within the animal kingdom.In a way, it's kind of reminiscent of the old medical school "ontogeny recapitulates philogeny."For those lucky enough not to have experienced medical school, the famous saying refers to the similarity between developmental stages of an unborn fetus and the various lifeforms in the animal kingdom.For example, the fertilized zygote resembles a one celled organism.The early developing fetus resembles a fishlike creature and so on.

In this book, needless to say, the more articulated the comparison being made between the infant's developing speech capacity, the more the authors will be inclined to use a more evolutionarily complicated life form.

Significantly the authors use the similarities between humans and other animals to highlight their basic likenesses which according to the authors subsist in their mutual emotive acquisition of knowledge.In this sense, this book is like Read Montague's Why Choose this Book wherein Montague merged Alan Turing mechanistic reasoning with emotive values to create an up to date model of cognition.

Again, these features are all welcome.

Where I think the authors falter is later in the book when they try to apply their theories to group dynamics.But even so the book remains healthy food for thought and welcome insight if only for the knowledge that when we visit the zoo, the animals looking back at us are really not that much different at all but certainly not lacking consciousness just because they don't speak out language. ... Read more

11. Primate Societies
Paperback: 585 Pages (1987-05-15)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$35.00
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Asin: 0226767167
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Primate Societies is a synthesis of the most currentinformation on primate socioecology and its theoretical andempirical significance, spanning the disciplines of behavioralbiology, ecology, anthropology, and psychology. It is a very richsource of ideas about other taxa.

"A superb synthesis of knowledge about the social lives ofnon-human primates."--Alan Dixon, Nature ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding compilation of works on primate behavior
This volume is now over 20 years old, but it has remained a valuable resource for me. One of my areas of interest is how an understanding of primate behavior and society might inform us somewhat about human nature and human politics. This volume features 40 separate chapters, each authored by an expert. The editors of this volume, Barbara Smuts, Dorothy Cheney, Robert Seyfarth, Richard Wrangham, and Thomas Struhsaker, are all well reputed primatologists.

The work is divided into several sections. The first, "Evolution of Diversity," explores the variety of primates, with key aspects of their societies. For instance, one essay examines dominance hierarchies among female prosimians; anotherlooks at cooperative behavior among chimpanzee males; one essay explores territoriality and monogamy among gibbons.

Part II examines "Socioecology."Essays consider such key questions as food distribution and foraging behavior, group interactions, the evolution of social structure, and predation. Part III centers on "Group Life," and considers such issues as infants and adult males, gender and aggression, conflict and cooperation.

Part IV focuses on "Communication and Intelligence." The last part looks to the future of primates, asking how we might preserve our closest relatives in the living world and what primate research might be like in the future.

Even long of tooth, now, this volume still retains value for me in my research and is a high standard against which similar volumes must be compared.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saved Money
needed to purchase this book at the last minute for my daughter, Amazon and the supplier came through with flying colors...would definitely purchase again..

5-0 out of 5 stars Great reading
This book brings together information from primate field studies and presents it in an evolutionary context. 46 contributors cover more than 100 species of primate. Though it was published 20years ago it is still a great source of information - and before 40years ago very little was known about non-human primates.

The diversity of primates is clear from this collection. Mating systems, sexual dimorphism, infanticide by adult males, female dominance, dispersal and philopatry, aggression, conflict and cooperation, communication and intelligence - a wide range of observations of primate behavior are covered. I've found this book a very useful source.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent complilation on primate behavior
Many interesting and readable chapters discussing numerous aspects of primate social life.There is one chapter for virtually every primate genus, and many more general chapters as well.As an actuary, I especially enjoyed the chapter on the demography of certain primate populations, particularly rhesus macaques. ... Read more

12. Primate Taxonomy (Smithsonian Series in Comparative Evolutionary Biology)
by Colin Groves
Hardcover: 350 Pages (2001-04-17)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$43.87
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Asin: 156098872X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In this book, Colin Groves Proposes a complete taxonomy of living primates, reviewing the history and practice of their classification and providing an up-to-date synthesis of recent molecular and phylogenetic research. He contends that the taxonomic designation of individual species is the starting point for conservation, and that the taxonomy of living species is critical to understanding evolutionary relationships. At the heart of the book are species-by-species accounts in which Groves reviews the recent history of each group and offers many new taxonomic arrangements. He evaluates several distinctive former subspecies to full species status and reestablishes the status of a number of previously overlooked taxa. Discussing the major taxonomic issues of each group, he describes the reasoning behind his conclusions and objectively offers explanations of opposing views. He also briefly outlines a possible taxonomy of fossil primates based on the taxonomy of living primates. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An authoritative treatment.
Extensive taxonomic revisions are usually published in monographic series by natural history museums, distributed to a handful of academic institutions the world over, and relegated to shelves in the bowels of libraries where they are consulted on occasion by a few specialists in each scientific generation.That Colin Groves' latest taxonomic revision is published in an attractive volume and sold on amazon.com testifies to the importance of primate taxonomy to many disciplines.I've read it from cover to cover.This revision deserves the attention.

Groves' introductory chapters describe theories and traditional methods in taxonomy, and provide useful historical context, as well as insight into his own viewpoints.For primatologists without taxonomic experience, this account will de-mystify the discipline and allow the process to be easily visualized and understood.For fellow taxonomists, Groves' descriptions of his methods and his mindset are invaluable for interpreting his conclusions, and for comparing notes.Also extremely useful are Groves' remarks both on the comparative excellence of primate holdings at major natural history museums worldwide, and on the influence and thought of past taxonomists.Knowledge like this is very truly the province of the specialist, and is very hard to come by-- close familiarity with the holdings of primate collections in museums worldwide can only be gained through expensive travel and extensive examinations, and intimate understanding of the viewpoints of taxonomists of decades and centuries past requires a comprehensive familiarity with countless old and often obscure descriptions, revisions, and monographs.

As for Groves' treatment of the primates, it is different, fresh, and full of monumental splitting (he recognizes about 330 species).Possibly it will be hard for some workers in primatology and mammalogy to stomach, as it certainly disrupts familiarity with relative rank of various taxa, and with figures of species richness in all groups.However, as many or more will welcome it as a long-needed reassessment of primate diversity, which in other current treatments is woefully underestimated.Groves has discovered over time, via careful museum research, that a large number of primate taxa named long ago but later uncritically synonymized and soon enough forgotten, are actually distinctive and recognizable species.Such taxonomic resurrections turn conservationists' attention to long-overlooked populations of primates that are deserving of high-concern conservation status.Changes in taxonomy lead to changes in policy, and this without doubt will be the most important effect of Groves' new book.An additional very useful contribution is that the book highlights and summarizes the flood of new primate taxa discovered during fieldwork in the tropics in recent years.

Of course it is important to remember, as Groves himself notes, that no taxonomic revision is the last word on the subject.In the case of primates, new species will continue to be described from the world's tropical regions, and many of the taxa Groves lists as provisional will with further research be shown to be undeserving of the rank he bestows on them.Nevertheless, Groves' take on primate taxonomy is without doubt a much more accurate characterization of living primate species diversity than other current and more traditional arrangements.For the large number of people who work with, write about, or make decisions regarding primates, this book should be considered the authoritative reference for identifying the current name, taxonomic rank, or uniqueness of a primate population.It is a most excellent contribution.

4-0 out of 5 stars A monkey puzzle tree�.
Finally, Primate Taxonomy has appeared- before this, I had heard references to it at primatological gatherings. Colin Groves needs no introduction in the area of taxonomy of many non-primate species, most recently, in resolving the question whether the African bush elephant is a subspecies, or a species in its own right (the latter). But it is probably fair to say that Colin's greatest achievement has been, the taxonomy of nonhuman primate (NHP) species. So what is Primate Taxonomy like? First, although a work aimed at a professional audience, there is much that can be appreciated by a non-scholarly audience interested in NHPs. The first few chapters deal with taxonomy, its history, and how it is done to-day. Taxonomy is the science of identifying species, placing them in the system designed by Linnaeus and familiar to all biology students, which assigns to each species a double Latin name; the first indicates the genus to which the species belongs, while the second is specific and unique to the species, eg, the rhesus monkey is Macaca mulatta, and the sacred baboon, Papio hamadryas. Related genera (like Macaca and Papio) are included in the "tribe" of the Papionini, which is part of the "subfamily" Cercopithecinae, which is part of the "family" Cercopithecidae, which is part of the "superfamily" of the Cercopithecoidea. This way, each species has its own place in a tree-like, hierarchical structure. But there is a snag: what, exactly, is a species? At first glance, this may seem obvious, but it is not. Appearances may be deceiving, with animals which look alike nevertheless being different species (the owl monkey, where chromosomal differences differentiate between very similar animals); conversely, animals that differ strikingly in their appearance may be of the same species (the historic misidentification of some gibbon species where there is sexual dimorphism in colour, as two species), and the history of taxonomy is littered with misidentifications of species. Groves provides clear descriptions of different attempts to define what makes a species, and favours the "traditional" definition, which includes a species being a population with its own ecological niche and limited distribution which does not interbreed (except in cases where territories may overlap) with another species, and which has a common behavioural repertoire distinct from other populations. Unfortunately for the taxonomist, the essential components of this (or any) definition of a species are often not known, and the only materials available are skins and skeletons (where, in case of some, it is not even known exactly where they were collected). On the other hand, in modern times, the traditional morphological criteria derived from skins and bones can be amplified by DNA analysis and other molecular biological markers, chromosome analysis, and by an increasing knowledge of behaviour, and Groves has, wherever possible, used such data in compiling his book. However, having identified a species, the taxonomist is not there yet: any species with a wide distribution covering a number of different "living conditions", or where rivers separate different populations (as in the Amazon or Congo basins) will probably have subspecies. Reading those first chapters makes one aware of the amount of work involved in the bulk of the book, where, going down the branches of the taxonomic tree, Groves lists the species and subspecies of all NHPs, from lemurs, lorises, bushbabies and tarsiers, through the New World monkeys and Old World monkeys to the great apes (Homo sapiens is listed at the very end but receives little discussion). There are brief summaries of the main features of families, subfamilies, tribes, etc, but the focus is on the species level where a general description of the genus is followed by one of a species including a list of the scientific names that species may have had since first described. This is rather helpful because one still comes across superseded names. After the description and distribution of a species, its subspecies are listed, starting with the type species (eg, Macaca fascicularis fascicularis), with for each, the characteristics which make it different, as well as the distribution. Two impressions emerge: first, the enormous variety of NHP species and subspecies that exist; and that in a world that seems to become smaller daily, new species are still being discovered, even where very little NHP habitat is left, such as on Madagascar. And this is surely the second impression, that many species, or their subspecies, are fast becoming vulnerable/threatened/endangered. So should you buy this book? If your profession is dealing with primate taxonomy in a serious way (zoos, conservation groups, government and NGO environmental and foreign aid agencies, university departments) the book is essential because of its profound scholarship. Nevertheless, I do have a few quibbles: the major one is that it would have been very good to have a summary table at the end of the book which allowed a quick overview of the proposed taxonomy. Now, if one wants to know how many subspecies of Macaca mulatta there are, for instance, one has to go to the relevant chapter and count them as listed; which is not made easier because the book's print is rather fine, and while, following convention, all scientific names are in italics, they are not otherwise highlighted and a brief entry can easily be missed. Likewise, short of counting, I could not find out how many species of NHP Groves thinks there are, and how many subspecies, overall. Such numbers would be nice to know in arguments about biodiversity and conservation. For non-taxonomists, it might have been helpful to include a kind of diagram of a "standard" NHP divided (bushmeat-like?), into portions so descriptions of fur colour distributions could be read more easily; in the text, for instance, terms like "dorsum", "saddle", "rump", "haunch" and "lumbar region", although strictly speaking referring to different parts, could be confusing. But these are minor points: Primate Taxonomy will be a tool, and subject for discussions for many years to come. It represents an outstanding feat of scholarship. ... Read more

13. The Ethical Primate: Humans, Freedom and Morality
by Mary Midgley
Paperback: 208 Pages (1996-03-26)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$22.06
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Asin: 041513224X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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In The Ethical Primate, renowned philosopher Mary Midgley tackles important questions about human freedom and morality. Scientists and philosophers have found it difficult to understand how each human being can be both a living part of the natural world and, at the same time, a genuinely free agent. Midgley explores their responses to this seeming paradox and argues that our evolutionary origin, properly understood, explains why human freedom and morality have come about. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ethics and Evolution
The purpose of this book is to suggest how the ethical sense of humans is likely to have developed in the course of evolution.Many so-called Darwinians have seen this development as "merely" another mechanism in the struggle for survival.They have argued that morality, properly understood, is nothing other than a more or less enlightened codification of self-interest, a view that had already been put forward by Hobbes and by Bentham.For Herbert Spencer moral feelings that weaken the human species in the struggle for survival were aberrations to be corrected:on these grounds he thought that the desire to help the unfit poor should not find a place in a proper system of ethics. Man was part of Nature;Nature was "red in tooth and claw";and this fierce competition was supposed to make for evolutionary progress. (Social Darwinists never really bothered to study animals, or they would have seen that in the natural world cooperation and interdependence are at least as important as competition).Another Darwinian, like T.H.Huxley, was so appalled by this approach to ethics that he removed ethics from the evolutionary process altogether:Man's moral ends, he said, were not those of the ruthless cosmic process.

Mary Midgley rejects both these reactions to Darwin's work:the Hobbes-Bentham-Spencer view because it is reductionist and Huxley's because it is untenable.The thrust of her book is to show that genuine altruism is as much a product of evolution as are other developments;it is partly rooted in our physical instinctual inheritance, but it is also the result of the special way in which humans are conscious of themselves and can enter imaginatively into the feelings of others.

She develops these ideas in the last third of her book, after having devoted the first two thirds to a comprehensive attack on all reductionist theories of behaviour - that is, theories which purport to explain complex human behaviour in terms of something simpler and fundamental, such a purely physical processes.I have not the space to comment on this part of her powerful arguments here.

In the last third of the book, then, Midgley considers how in evolutionary terms our moral sense might have developed. Her starting point is a hitherto little noticed comment of Darwin's:indeed, most people did not seem to know that he had written anything at all about ethics.Darwin had observed that parent swallows follow one of their instincts in joining migrating flocks while being apparently untroubled by the rival instinct not to desert nestlings who are left behind to die.In this case an instinct which is temporarily very powerful quite blots out one which Midgley describes as "a habitual feeling which is much weaker at any one time, but is stronger in that it is far more persistent and lies deeper in the character."The reason why the swallows evince no hesitation or feeling of conflict between the two courses is that their intellectual power is not highly enough developed.It is, Darwin wrote, "exceedingly likely that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience as soon as its intellectual powers had become as well-developed, or anything like as well-developed, as in man."Morality develops when creatures become conscious of the inevitable conflict in their feelings;and in the more highly developed animals the signs of the struggle between opposing impulses are quite clearly observable.

Human thought brings with it a number of characteristics which, if they exist at all in animals, do so to a much weaker degree: humans have a well developed possibility of imaginative empathy with the feelings of other creatures:they become not merely self-conscious but also conscious of others.They care about what others are thinking and feeling, not least about themselves.They understand the consequences of actions.When they have violated what the weaker but deeper feelings tell them, they feel guilt;when they observe others violating them, they become judgmental.They understand the consequences of actions. They want to have some control over their conflicting emotions - not just for mechanically "evolutionary" reasons, but because they value the freedom which may prevent them from being passively swept hither and thither by their instincts like a piece of flotsam on a powerful wave.Having become conscious of their instincts clashing, they want to establish for themselves a system of priorities;and the purpose of a moral code is to establish that system of priorities.The priorities they establish bear some signs of "selfish" evolutionary programming:to put the interests of one's children before those of the needier stranger, for example;but it is the capacity of thought and of feeling (Midgley constantly stresses that theories which set these two in a hierarchical scheme are badly reductionist) which gradually widens the range of creatures towards whom we accept increasing degrees of responsibility.

I am not in a position to pronounce on the validity of the origins of morality as Mary Midgley presents them.I would suspect that reductionist arguments cannot be quite as crass as she suggests, were it not for the devastating quotations she adduces from some of their academic exponents.As usual, she writes extremely well and lucidly.She is totally devoid of philosophical jargon; and almost every page has a memorable phrase or striking image, as well as a fine sweep of reference to which a short review like this cannot do justice.It is a deeply humane and attractive book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat misleading title, but great follow-through!
In the year or so that I've been acquainted with her work, Mary Midgley has quickly become one of my favorite philosophers (outside of Karl Popper and John Dewey). This here is philosophy for the real world.

As such, she starts with real questions: How does morality fit into the evolutionary schema? Science's answer: game theory and self interest became self-interested cooperation. How does the mind (our first person view) fit into naturalistic accounds of the body? Science's answer: it doesn't, really. The mind is the brain and that first person 'viewpoint' is an illusion propogated by the genes.

If I had to give a brief summation of what Midgley does in this book, I'd say this: she takes on reductionism in all of its scientistic forms. Those who want another evolutionary psychology account of the evolution of morality will not find this book comfortable (that's why the title might be misleading). Rather Midgley comes to pluralistic conclusions that when asked to choose between moral libertarianism and reductionistic fatalism, answers: why not a little of both? Why are scientists so eager to do away with the mind as either an illusion or as merely a 'propogation center' for memes? Answer: because they want a unified physicalist view that can't tolerate anything (like the mind) that doesn't disappear into purely physical terms. But, Midgley asks, does that erase the fact that the mind, despite all the 'explaining away' is still there?

Anyhow, another way this book's title may be misleading is that Midgley's concern lies mostly with the issue of how free our moral agency is. Thus if the reader is looking for a book to answer specific moral questions like: Why do we share? Why do we like doing things for others? Why do we fight? and such, the reader won't find that here. Teh essential questions are: How can we give a non-reductionistic account of the mind in a physical world? and How can any form of freedom be compatible with a world of determinism.

Enjoy. ... Read more

14. Primate Anatomy, Third Edition: An Introduction
by Friderun Ankel-Simons
Paperback: 752 Pages (2007-01-22)
list price: US$77.95 -- used & new: US$67.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0123725763
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book is unlike ay other work on primates: it systematically reviews the biology of all living primates, including humans. It describes their bio-geographical information and provides crucial data pertaining to their body size, fur coloration external distinguishing features, habitat and basic life strategies.

Now in its third edition, Primate Anatomy discusses species that are new to science since the last edition with details concerning anatomical features among primates that were re-discovered. New research in molecular primatology is also included due to recent relevant findings in molecular biology in accordance with new technology. The basics of biological taxonomy are introduced, along with photographs of all major groups. Important new and controversal issues make this edition key for every primatologists, anthropologist, and anatomist.

* Offers up-to-date reviews of molecular primatology and primate genomics
* Concentrates on living primates and their overall biology
* Discusses the genetic connection of function where known
* Introduces primate genomics for the first time in a textbook
* Provides instructive and comprehensive review tables
* Includes many unique, novel and easily understandable illustrations ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great book
This book is really nice. Is technic and talk about a lot of different monkeys and a lot of subjects. I purchased without any problem. I liked so much.

4-0 out of 5 stars Aye aye!
Well, I'm an armchair student of primatology and physical anthro (you can't cover everything in only 4 years of college!) so I have not the capacity to give a true academically critical reading of this book...but I must say, I have really, really enjoyed reading and studying it & soaking up the information!

This is, flat-out, a textbook--it's not meant as a "fun" book about apes and monkeys.
If you haven't already got a passing fair (ok, in-depth) knowledge of mammalian anatomy to start with, you may well be lost.
But as a text I found it an easy, clear and concise read with helpful diagrams, charts and illustrations.
In short..if this author chose to update this work as more information becomes available, I'd buy it again. And again.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good book
Although the book misses a lot of information on the anatomy of the pelvic girdle, it is a very good book, specially on the higher primates. It could have more details, it could be a bigger book. ... Read more

15. Evolutionary History of the Primates
by Frederick S. Szalay, Eric Delson
 Hardcover: 580 Pages (1980-02-11)
list price: US$94.95
Isbn: 0126801509
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16. Primate Adaptation and Evolution, Second Edition
by John G. Fleagle
Hardcover: 596 Pages (1998-09-25)
list price: US$75.95 -- used & new: US$38.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0122603419
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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John Fleagle has improved on his 1988 text by reconceptualizing chapters and by bringing new findings in functional and evolutionary approaches to bear on his synthesis of comparative primate data. The Second Edition provides a foundation upon which students can develop an understanding of our primate heritage. It features up-to-date information gained through academic training, laboratory experience and field research. This beautifully illustrated volume provides a comprehensive introductory text explaining the many aspects of primate biology and human evolution.

Key Features
* Provides up-to-date information about many aspects of primate biology and evolution
* Contains a completely new chapter on primate communities
* Presents totally revised chapters on primate origins, early anthropoids, and fossil platyrrhines
* Includes an updated glossary, new illustrations, and a revised Classification of Order Primates
* Succeeds as the best introductory text on primate evolution because it synthesizes and allows access to primary literature ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
I'm not even a student & haven't been for decades, but I sat down to read this text and really didn't want to put it down! My family had to make their own dinners the night it appeared on the front step.
It covers everything, just everything you always wanted to know about any primate on the planet: how we are all constructed and why. Most of the illustrations are line-drawings in my edition, but there are lots and lots of them. You cannot go wrong with this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unquestionably the best undergrad textbook
Anyone who teaches an intro to primates course will wish to assign this book to their students.There are a variety of textbooks on the subject available, and some of them are excellent.Fleagle's volume, however, is the only one that provides such a complete review of the fossil record and anatomical variation, as well as behavioral variation.It is concise, thorough, and complete, and the best of the choices available to an instructor in this subject.

5-0 out of 5 stars a must-have
Can you study physical anthropology and not have this book? Probably not. If it hasn't been assigned to you as part of your education and you are serious about physical anthropology, you should buy this book right now. This book outlines the living primates as well as the extinct species in an easy to understand, easy to learn format. It has all the information you could ever need to know about living and extinct primates.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent source of reference for primatology enthusiasts
During college, I used this book extensively to gather initial information on primates.This book covers anywhere from the evolutionary relationship of primates, to the current dentition of any primate species.The bookdoes an excellent job of cataloging primate species to be easilyreferenced. ... Read more

17. Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females
Hardcover: 504 Pages (2009-06-19)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$44.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0674033248
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Conflict between males and females over reproduction is ubiquitous in nature due to fundamental differences between the sexes in reproductive rates and investment in offspring. In only a few species, however, do males strategically employ violence to control female sexuality. Why are so many of these primates? Why are females routinely abused in some species, but never in others? And can the study of such unpleasant behavior by our closest relatives help us to understand the evolution of men’s violence against women?

In the first systematic attempt to assess and understand primate male aggression as an expression of sexual conflict, the contributors to this volume consider coercion in direct and indirect forms: direct, in overcoming female resistance to mating; indirect, in decreasing the chance the female will mate with other males. The book presents extensive field research and analysis to evaluate the form of sexual coercion in a range of species—including all of the great apes and humans—and to clarify its role in shaping social relationships among males, among females, and between the sexes.

(20091201) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females
Excellent book if you're a person open to the evolutionary perspective.Discusses actual behavior separate from morality.If you want to understand the antecedents to violence against women, then you need to read this book. ... Read more

18. Seasonality in Primates: Studies of Living and Extinct Human and Non-Human Primates (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology)
Hardcover: 604 Pages (2005-12-12)
list price: US$165.00 -- used & new: US$115.56
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Asin: 0521820693
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The emergence of the genus Homo is widely linked to the colonization of "new" highly seasonal savannah habitats. However, until now, our understanding of the possible impact of seasonality on this shift has been limited because we have little general knowledge of how seasonality affects the lives of primates. This book documents the extent of seasonality in food abundance in tropical woody vegetation. It then presents a systematic analysis of seasonality's impact in food supply on the behavioral ecology of non-human primates and ultimately applies its conclusions to primate and human evolution. ... Read more

19. Training Nonhuman Primates Using Positive Reinforcement Techniques: A Special Issue of the journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Paperback: 104 Pages (2003-11-01)
list price: US$27.50 -- used & new: US$24.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0805895736
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This special issue illustrates benefits to animals from positive reinforcement training (PRT) and--depending on the setting--to scientists, animal care staff, veterinarians, and in the case of the zoo, the visiting public. One important theme throughout is that training is a joint venture between human and nonhuman primate and can lead to a closer, richer relationship between the two. In summary, the editors hope this issue encourages further and wider application of PRT to primate management, care, and use, as well as aid those working with animals in applying PRT safely and effectively.
... Read more

20. Primate Behaviour: Information, Social Knowledge, and the Evolution of Culture (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology)
by Duane Quiatt, Vernon Reynolds
Paperback: 332 Pages (1995-01-27)
list price: US$65.00 -- used & new: US$51.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521498325
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Editorial Review

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This book is about the social life of monkeys, apes and humans. The central theme is the importance of social information and knowledge to a full understanding of primate social behavior and organization. Its main purpose is to stress evolutionary continuity, i.e. that there are direct connections between human and nonhuman society. This view is often downplayed elsewhere in the anthropological literature where the notion that humans have culture and animals do not is prevalent. Topics covered include an overview of the contexts of behavior; a comparison of blind strategies and tactical decision-making; social cognition; a review of intentionalist interpretations of behavior; kinship; language and its social implications; and the constraints of culture. ... Read more

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