Mechanics of Exploitation

  • Robin I. M. Dunbar
Part of the Studies in Behavioural Adaptation book series (SBA)


Relationships develop as a result of animals interacting with each other. It is, therefore, in the detailed behavioural content of those interactions that we need to look in order to find out how animals prevail on other individuals to behave in the ways they want them to. The key to this lies in communication and in the processes of negotiation. This highlights, in many ways, the essentially political nature of primate societies and draws attention to the fact that primates are particularly intelligent, even by mammalian standards. A number of authors have argued that the super-intelligence of primates evolved not for ecological problem-solving (as has conventionally been assumed) but to enable the animals to develop (and negotiate their way through) complex networks of social relationships (Jolly 1966b, Humphrey 1976, Kummer 1982, de Waal 1982, Cheney and Seyfarth 1985a. Harconrr in press).


Rhesus Macaque Coalition Formation Dominance Rank Prefer Partner Contact Call 
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Copyright information

© Robin Dunbar 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin I. M. Dunbar
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of LiverpoolUK

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