Anthropology | EVOLUTION OF PRIMATE SOCIAL BEHAVIOR
B368 | 4118 | Cook
B368 is a survey of the social behavior of the non-human primates.
The order Primates is extremely diverse in the kinds of social systems
that are represented among the 200 or so living species. Some primates
are solitary. Some form life-long pair bonds. Others live in large
social groups with a variety of different organizing principles. Many
primates show flexibility in social arrangements in response to
environmental pressures. We will study the five basic primate social
systems and their variations. We will look at how animals become part of
a social group and how and why they transfer between groups. We will look
at social communication and learning. We will explore the literature that
seeks to understand the evolutionary and ecological bases of sociality in
There is a reading assignment of approximately 25 pages for each
class meeting. Readings will be on reserve in the Geography Library. We
will see several films in class, and there will be required field trips to
the Indianapolis Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo. Grades are based on a
midterm exam and a final exam (each 30 percent), a research paper (30
percent), and in-class discussion of the reading assignments (10 percent).
Your research paper should explore the literature on a topic in primate
behavior, for example call systems, play, predator avoidance, or tool use,
and the relevance of this literature to models for human evolution.