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Animal Social Complexity: Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies
     

Animal Social Complexity: Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies

by Frans B. M. de Waal (Editor), Peter L. Tyack (Editor), Christophe Boesch (Contribution by), Jack W. Bradbury (Contribution by), Richard Connor (Contribution by)
 

For over 25 years, primatologists have speculated that intelligence, at least in monkeys and apes, evolved as an adaptation to the complicated social milieu of hard-won friendships and bitterly contested rivalries. Yet the Balkanization of animal research has prevented us from studying the same problem in other large-brained, long-lived animals, such as hyenas and

Overview

For over 25 years, primatologists have speculated that intelligence, at least in monkeys and apes, evolved as an adaptation to the complicated social milieu of hard-won friendships and bitterly contested rivalries. Yet the Balkanization of animal research has prevented us from studying the same problem in other large-brained, long-lived animals, such as hyenas and elephants, bats and sperm whales. Social complexity turns out to be widespread indeed. For example, in many animal societies one individual's innovation, such as tool use or a hunting technique, may spread within the group, thus creating a distinct culture. As this collection of studies on a wide range of species shows, animals develop a great variety of traditions, which in turn affect fitness and survival.

The editors argue that future research into complex animal societies and intelligence will change the perception of animals as gene machines, programmed to act in particular ways and perhaps elevate them to a status much closer to our own. At a time when humans are perceived more biologically than ever before, and animals as more cultural, are we about to witness the dawn of a truly unified social science, one with a distinctly cross-specific perspective?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674018235
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Publication date:
09/28/2005
Pages:
640
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Frans B. M. de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Psychology Department and Director of Living Links, part of the Yerkes Primate Center, Emory University.

Peter L. Tyack is Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

William McGrew is Professor of Anthropology and Zoology at Miami University (Ohio).

Susan Perry is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Carel van Schaik is Professor and Director of the Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zürich.

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