Primate Social Systems

  • Robin I. M. Dunbar

Part of the Studies in Behavioural Adaptation book series (SBA)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 1-14
  3. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 15-32
  4. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 33-54
  5. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 55-75
  6. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 76-89
  7. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 90-105
  8. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 106-150
  9. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 151-181
  10. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 182-204
  11. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 205-236
  12. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 237-261
  13. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 262-291
  14. Robin I. M. Dunbar
    Pages 292-325
  15. Back Matter
    Pages 326-373

About this book


This book grew from small beginnings as I began to find unexpected patterns emerging from the data in the literature. The more I thought about the way in which primate social systems worked, the more interesting things turned out to be. I am conscious that, at times, this has introduced a certain amount of complexity into the text. I make no apologies for that: what we are dealing with is a complex subject, the product of evolutionary forces interacting with very sophisticated minds. None the less, I have done my best to explain every­ thing as clearly as I can in order to make the book accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I have laid a heavy emphasis in this book on the use of simple graphical and mathematical models. Their sophistication, however, is not great and does not assume more than a knowledge of elementary probability theory. Since their role will inevitably be misunderstood, I take this opportunity to stress that their function is essentially heuristic rather than explanatory: they are designed to focus our attention on the key issues so as to point out the directions for further research. A model is only as good as the questions it prompts us to ask. For those whose natural inclination is to dismiss modelling out of hand, I can only point to the precision that their use can offer us in terms of hypothesis-testing.


behavior complexity ecology evolution mechanics primates

Authors and affiliations

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

Bibliographic information