Primate Behavior Report

Option 4:  Research Paper Summary

For this option of the Primate Behavior Report, you will read 2 articles about gorilla social behavior and gorilla society.   One of the articles is more general, and deals more with field studies of gorilla society. The second article involves a captive study of development of play behavior in gorillas. You then will respond to the questions listed below, completing your responses in full sentences and paragraphs.  Please cite all sources used to answer the questions, including the 2 required articles, as well as your course textbook.  Please include list of all sources in bibliography at the end of your report.

Required Articles:

  • Harcourt, AH and KJ Stewart.  2007. Gorilla Society: What We Know and Don’t Know. Evolutionary Anthropology 16:147–15
  • Maestripieri, D and  S Ross Sex Differences in Play Among Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) Infants: Implications for Adult Behavior and Social Structure. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 123: 52-61.

After reading the two articles, please complete the sections of this form.

Article 1: Harcourt and Stewart Article

  • What was the purpose of this article?
  • How do environmental factors (e.g., food) affect gorilla social organization? How does social organization affect the individual gorillas living in the social groups?
  • Describe the anti-infanticide and anti-predator hypotheses for gorilla social organization. 
  • Compare and contrast the societal differences observed between Eastern lowland gorillas, Western lowland gorillas, and mountain gorillas. How do demographic variables and ecology influence the differences?
  • Summarize two major conclusions of the article.

•      Use the internet to research one of the authors of the article.  What is the current position or affiliation of this primatologist? Also, list another publication (from past 5 years) authored or co-authored by this primatologist.

Article 2: Maestripieri and Ross Article

  • What was the purpose of this article?  What hypothesis was being tested?
  • Where was this study undertaken? How many subjects were used for the study?
  • What primate was observed in this study?  Provide complete genus, species names. 
  • Summarize the natural habitat and geographic distribution of this  primate species in the natural world. (You may find out this information from Primate Fact Sheets found at the Primate Info Net website, http://pin.primate.wisc.edu/factsheets). 
  • From the information provided in the paper, describe at least 3  behaviors which were observed or examined in the study.  Define each of these behaviors (see table below). From the  paper information or using the Internet, indicate whether or not the behavior is frequent or rare (anecdotal) behavior.
Behavior Operational Definition Function Is this frequent or rare behavior? 
         
         
         
  • What does the individual primate gain from each of these behaviors? Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each behavior from both the individual and the group perspective.
  • Compare and contrast the observed behaviors with those of human beings. Are there similar behavior patterns in humans? Why or why not?
  • Summarize two major conclusions of the study.
  • Use the internet to research one of the authors of the article.  What is the current position or affiliation of this primatologist? Also, list another publication (from past 5 years) authored or co-authored by this primatologist.

Overall Conclusions and Reflections

  • Conclusions and Reflections: What are your conclusions about the similarities in non-human primate behaviors and human behaviors? Were the behaviors discussed in the a papers different than you expected? How do the primate behaviors show adaptation to the environment?

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