Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

5: Primatology

  • Page ID
  • [ "article:topic-guide", "Primatology", "authorname:aschoenberg" ]

    Primatology is the scientific study of primates. Primatologists study both living and extinct primates in their natural habitats and in laboratories by conducting field studies and experiments in order to understand aspects of their evolution and behavior.

    • 5.0: Introduction to Primatology
      We are primates. One way to learn about humans is to study them as a kind of primate. This works especially well to explain how we got the physical structure that we have. It works a little bit to explain a few of our behaviors. It doesn't work at all to explain our culture.
    • 5.1: Primate Evolution
      There is a direct correlation between primate evolution and primate taxonomy. Our goal in evolutionary systematics is to make a taxonomy of living organisms and trace their ancestors and provide the dates when the groups of species split apart from one another.
    • 5.2: Primate Taxonomy
      Primates are characterized by large brains relative to other mammals, as well as an increased reliance on stereoscopic vision at the expense of smell, the dominant sensory system in most mammals. These features are more developed in monkeys and apes and noticeably less so in lorises and lemurs.
    • 5.3: Ethology
      Ethology is the study of animal behavior. Don't confuse it with "ethnology" the study of "ethnos", ethnicities, the comparative study of human cultures.
    • 5.4: Conservation
      The total world primate population has skyrocketed in the last 10,000 years and especially in the last 200 years. But, the total number of primate species has declined drastically and primate extinction is expected to continue. One primate is doing really well, at the expense of all the other primates. The primary cause is habitat loss, but a significant and very symbolic factor is that one primate is literally eating all the others.