The Next Direction for Primatology? A Commentary on Setchell (2013)
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- Hopper, L.M., Morgan, D.B. & Ross, S.R. Int J Primatol (2014) 35: 341. doi:10.1007/s10764-014-9764-6
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Primatologists were asked to submit their “ideas for the Big Questions that remain unanswered in Primatology” and, from this, Setchell (2013) grouped the 170 responses into 11 broad themes. This exercise created a valuable tool that can help primatologists identify both the “missing gaps” and current broad overarching themes within our field. In this commentary, we offer our perspective on the methodology and results of this survey. By considering the 11 themes more holistically, primatologists can more easily address a broader range of questions, methods, and outcomes for their research endeavors and conservation efforts. Ultimately, the results of this survey should enable researchers and policymakers to recognize gaps in our knowledge and plan how to proceed with new research initiatives and funding applications. The identified themes should also provide a reference point for new avenues of investigation, and we are hopeful that this list can encourage interdisciplinary research if primatologists consider the overlaps across the themes. However, as Setchell noted, as some key areas of research were omitted from the list, the 11 themes should be used as a tool for guidance in expanding our research horizons and not as a template for the minimum of what is required.