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Emerging from a fusion of Smith's training and education in primatology and clinical psychology, this look at parental behavior in primates examines both the nonhuman and the human members of the group. In a highly descriptive and nontechnical writing style, Smith compares and contrasts the natural history of parenting in species ranging from the tiny cotton-top tamarin to chimpanzees, bonobos, and humans. Opening with a chapter describing how she taught inexperienced parents in her cotton-top tamarin colony to care for their offspring, the author then looks at various phases of parenting in separate chapters. As mothers provide the majority of parental care in most species, she examines primate mothers first. Fathers play varying roles in different species, and in different human cultures, and these myriad functions fill the next chapter. Babysitters, weaning, the lives of juveniles, and how parents empty the nest not only view the changing duties of parenthood, but also continue the author's compare-and-contrast approach. A final chapter answers the question of how much parents matter. This engrossing book will interest all human primate parents.
— Nancy Bent