Almost Human

Almost Human

by Shirley C. Strum
     
 

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“An entertaining and readable account of what life is like, not only for baboons, but those who watch them….Fascinating and compelling reading.” —New York Times
When Shirley C. Strum first set out in 1972 to do graduate work with baboons in Kenya, conventional wisdom had it that primate society, epitomized by monkeys such as baboons, was

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Overview

“An entertaining and readable account of what life is like, not only for baboons, but those who watch them….Fascinating and compelling reading.” —New York Times
When Shirley C. Strum first set out in 1972 to do graduate work with baboons in Kenya, conventional wisdom had it that primate society, epitomized by monkeys such as baboons, was based on aggression and ruled by the males, their brute force and their dominance hierarchy. But her absorbing chronicle of fifteen years spent observing a troop of baboons has revealed remarkable new aspects of animal behavior.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anthropologist Strum was an unlikely candidate to study baboons in rural Kenya: her knowledge of animals and nature came from books; she lacked field experience and the requisite physical skills; and she had never yearned for adventure. But she adapted quickly to life in the wild, and her detailed observations over a 14-year period disprove the conventional wisdom about baboon behaviorthat their society is based on agggression and male dominance. She documents a peaceful society where friendship and reciprocity are more effective than aggression and females are the stabilizing force. This is an engaging story on two levelsthe baboons, of course, and Strum's gradual transformation from uncompromising scientist to humanist. There are interesting parallels and contrasts to Dian Fossey: both had problems with graduate students; unlike Fossey, Strum did not become emotionally involved with the animals, and she sought cooperation rather than battle with the natives. Strum also had support from a conservation and wildlife expert whom she later married. This volume is a worthy companion to Fossey's Gorillas in the Mist and Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man. Photos not seen by PW. Nature Book Association main selection; BOMC dividend selection. (November 9)
Library Journal
For the past 15 years, Strum, an anthropologist, has been observing olive baboons in Kenya. In this very personal and engaging account, she describes behaviors and relationships demonstrated by the ``Pumphouse Gang,'' a troop of 60 of these intelligent and socially brilliant animals. She also recounts her courageous relocation of three baboon troops. Most significant, however, is Strum's observation that baboons are a peaceful group whose success depends upon nonaggressive social strategies. Her findings, which conflict with an established model of primate behavior, have already met with controversy. This remarkable book should generate further dialogue. Highly recommended. Laurie Bartolini, Lincoln Lib., Springfield, Ill.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393307085
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/1990
Edition description:
Older Edition
Pages:
340
Sales rank:
812,378
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)

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Meet the Author

Shirley Carol Strum (b. 1947) is professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. She divides her time between Kenya and the United States.

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