Primate Signatures and Behavioral Flexibility in Heterogeneous Regimes

Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


Scientists are trained to generalize, and many primatologists have attempted to characterize those traits diagnostic of the Primate Order (Vaughan, 1978; Eisenberg, 1966, 1981; Fleagle, 1999; Jones, 2001; Kappeler et al., 2003; Lee and Kappeler, 2003). Of course, the traits that one considers significant will often depend upon one’s questions, and the goals and assumptions of research have not been the same in all of these research programs. Thus, although large brain to body ratio and a capacity for learning, in particular, social learning, and cognition are mentioned by many investigators as signatures of primates (e.g., Mazur, 2002; Fragaszy and Perry, 2003a), few of the other traits appear in all schemas (e.g., specializations in dentition or cranial anatomy). This chapter will propose several traits displayed by primates that appear to this author to have received little attention as possible primate signatures and which may facilitate and/or represent behaviorally flexible responses associated with the success of primates in temporally and spatially heterogeneous regimes.


Social Learning Primate Signature Social Para Behavioral Flexibility Social Parasitism 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fayetteville State UniversityFayetteville
  2. 2.Theoretical Primatology ProjectFayetteville
  3. 3.Community Conservation, Inc.Gays Mills

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