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Primates, Niche Construction, and Social Complexity: The Roles of Social Cooperation and Altruism

Chapter
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR, volume 36)

Abstract

The explication of altruistic behavior in primates remains complex. Gregarious, socially complex primates are characterized by a diverse array of social behavior patterns with seemingly altruistic behavior being relatively commonplace. Human societies are a form of primate society but with much higher levels of social complexity and extremely high levels of cooperative and apparently altruistic behavior. It is likely that there are elements of primate (at least anthropoid) sociality that act as baseline for subsequent expansion and elaboration during human evolution. Can understanding patterns and contexts of primate social complexity and cooperation help us understand human altruism? In this chapter we have two primary objectives: to examine three nonhuman primate genera to show how social cooperation, social bonding, and niche construction can affect our understandings of altruism and to illustrate where we think that such nonhuman primate information is a good model for humans and where it is not.

Keywords

Niche Construction Altruistic Behavior Social Cooperation Social Complexity Alpha Male 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Criminal JusticeCenter for International Studies, St. Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

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