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Of bonds and boundaries: what is the modern role of anthropomorphism in primatological studies?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21274899     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Anthropomorphism (and its obverse, zoomorphism) continues to shift and propel us toward changing perspectives on ourselves and other animals. Discussions of anthropomorphism in primate behavior are ostensibly about our use and definition of terms, but ultimately reflect our views of what is unique to humans or unknowable in other animals. Primatologists doing long-term fieldwork report on the bonds that are inevitably formed through familiarity with their study subjects and how anecdotes and anthropomorphism help them to gain a contextualized view of animal lives. This fuller view of animal society serves as an aid to understanding different rationalities and provides a more effective modern role for anthropomorphism than does seeking to demonstrate isomorphic capacities in alloprimates. Although most ordinary language terms are accepted among primatologists, "primate culture" serves as an example of a term and a concept that overreached acceptable anthropomorphic limits when defined to accord with definitions of modern human culture. Comparing similar behavioral forms as the product of similar selective pressures acting on specific early traits, producing homoplasies through convergent evolution, provides a nonanthropomorphic basis for seeking similarities in human and alloprimate behavior. Am. J. Primatol. 73:238-244, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Authors:
Pamela J Asquith
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Editorial    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of primatology     Volume:  73     ISSN:  1098-2345     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Primatol.     Publication Date:  2011 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-01-28     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8108949     Medline TA:  Am J Primatol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  238-44     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. pasquith@ualberta.ca.
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