International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 730–748 | Cite as

The State of Ethnoprimatology: Its Use and Potential in Today’s Primate Research

  • Tracie McKinneyEmail author
  • Kerry M. Dore


The human–primate interface is an increasingly relevant theme in primatological research. To understand the extent of ethoprimatological studies in contemporary primatology, we explored 7 years of primatological literature through a systematic review. We reviewed original research papers published in the American Journal of Primatology, the International Journal of Primatology, Primates, and Folia Primatologica between January 2010 and December 2016 for the presence of 14 search terms relevant to the ethnoprimatological approach. We sorted research papers into topical categories to identify trends in the recent primatological literature. Of the 1551 papers that met the criteria for inclusion in this review, 12 papers (0.8%) self-identified as an ethnoprimatological study by using the term in the title or keywords, and only 17 papers (1.1%) used the term anywhere in their text. However, the presence of other relevant keywords—anthropogenic (16.3%), crop (9.1%), disturbance (18.7%), conflict (6.2%), humannonhuman (0.5%), humanprimate (1.0%), interface (1.5%), perception (2.5%), culture (2.6%), ethnography (0.1%), trade (6.8%), provision (16.1%), and tourism (4.6%)—in a variety of research papers suggests that the human–primate dimension is salient for many, if not most, areas of primatological interest. The ethnoprimatological approach is relevant to every research trend we identified in today’s primatology. We highlight existing literature that exemplifies ethnoprimatological engagement and present potential research questions in each area, demonstrating that primatology as a whole would benefit from greater attention to the human dimension.


Anthropogenic disturbance Biosocial approach Conflict Ethnoprimatology Human–primate interface Primatological literature 



We thank Erin Riley and Sindhu Radhakrishna for organizing the symposium “Expanded Ecologies: Theoretical and Methodological Advancements in the Study of the Human–Nonhuman Primate Interface” for the 2016 joint meeting of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatologists, and for inviting us to contribute to this special issue. We are grateful to Erin Riley, Joanna Setchell, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10764_2017_12_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (346 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 346 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied SciencesUniversity of South WalesPontypriddUK
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSan AntonioUSA

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