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American Pronghorn
Social Adaptations and the Ghosts of Predators Past
John A. Byers
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Pronghorn antelope are the fastest runners in North America, clocked at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour. Yet none of their current predators can come close to running this fast. Pronghorn also gather in groups, a behavior commonly viewed as a "safety in numbers" defense. But again, none of their living predators are fearsome enough to merit such a response.

In this elegantly written book, John A. Byers argues that these mystifying behaviors evolved in response to the dangerous predators with whom pronghorn shared their grassland home for nearly four million years: among them fleet hyenas, lions, and cheetahs. Although these predators died out ten thousand years ago, pronghorn still behave as if they were present—as if they were living with the ghosts of predators past.

Byers's provocative hypothesis will stimulate behavioral ecologists and mammalogists to consider whether other species' adaptations are also haunted by selective pressures from predators past. The book will also find a ready audience among evolutionary biologists and paleontologists.

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Analyzing Animal Societies
Quantitative Methods for Vertebrate Social Analysis
Hal Whitehead
University of Chicago Press, 2008
Animals lead rich social lives. They care for one another, compete for resources, and mate. Within a society, social relationships may be simple or complex and usually vary considerably, both between different groups of individuals and over time. These social systems are fundamental to biological organization, and animal societies are central to studies of behavioral and evolutionary biology. But how do we study animal societies?  How do we take observations of animals fighting, grooming, or forming groups and produce a realistic description or model of their societies?

Analyzing AnimalSocieties presents a conceptual framework for analyzing social behavior and demonstrates how to put this framework into practice by collecting suitable data on the interactions and associations of individuals so that relationships can be described, and, from these, models can be derived.  In addition to presenting the tools, Hal Whitehead illustrates their applicability using a wide range of real data on a variety of animal species—from bats and chimps to dolphins and birds. The techniques that Whitehead describes will be profitably adopted by scientists working with primates, cetaceans, birds, and ungulates, but the tools can be used to study societies of invertebrates, amphibians, and even humans. Analyzing AnimalSocieties will become a standard reference for those studying vertebrate social behavior and will give to these studies the kind of quality standard already in use in other areas of the life sciences.

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Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues
Reflections on Redecorating Nature
Marc Bekoff, foreword by Jane Goodall
Temple University Press, 2005
What is it really like to be a dog? Do animals experience emotions like pleasure, joy, and grief? Marc Bekoff's work draws world-wide attention for its originality and its probing into what animals think about and know as well as what they feel, what physical and mental skills they use to live successfully within their social community. Bekoff's work, whether addressed to scientists or the general public, demonstrates that investigations into animal thought, emotions, self-awareness, behavioral ecology, and conservation biology can be compassionate as well as scientifically rigorous.In Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues, Bekoff brings together essays on his own ground-breaking research and on what scientists know about the remarkable range and flexibility of animal behavior. His fascinating and often amusing observations of dogs, wolves, coyotes, prairie dogs, elephants, and other animals playing, leaving and detecting scent-marks ("yellow snow"), solving problems, and forming friendships challenge the idea that science and the ethical treatment of animals are incompatible.

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Animal Social Complexity
Intelligence, Culture, and Individualized Societies
Frans B. M. de Waal
Harvard University Press, 2003

For over 25 years, primatologists have speculated that intelligence, at least in monkeys and apes, evolved as an adaptation to the complicated social milieu of hard-won friendships and bitterly contested rivalries. Yet the Balkanization of animal research has prevented us from studying the same problem in other large-brained, long-lived animals, such as hyenas and elephants, bats and sperm whales. Social complexity turns out to be widespread indeed. For example, in many animal societies one individual's innovation, such as tool use or a hunting technique, may spread within the group, thus creating a distinct culture. As this collection of studies on a wide range of species shows, animals develop a great variety of traditions, which in turn affect fitness and survival.

The editors argue that future research into complex animal societies and intelligence will change the perception of animals as gene machines, programmed to act in particular ways and perhaps elevate them to a status much closer to our own. At a time when humans are perceived more biologically than ever before, and animals as more cultural, are we about to witness the dawn of a truly unified social science, one with a distinctly cross-specific perspective?


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Baboon Metaphysics
The Evolution of a Social Mind
Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth
University of Chicago Press, 2007
In 1838 Charles Darwin jotted in a notebook, “He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.” Baboon Metaphysics is Dorothy L. Cheney and Robert M. Seyfarth’s fascinating response to Darwin’s challenge.
Cheney and Seyfarth set up camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, where they could intimately observe baboons and their social world. Baboons live in groups of up to 150, including a handful of males and eight or nine matrilineal families of females. Such numbers force baboons to form a complicated mix of short-term bonds for mating and longer-term friendships based on careful calculations of status and individual need.
But Baboon Metaphysics is concerned with much more than just baboons’ social organization—Cheney and Seyfarth aim to fully comprehend the intelligence that underlies it. Using innovative field experiments, the authors learn that for baboons, just as for humans, family and friends hold the key to mitigating the ill effects of grief, stress, and anxiety.
Written with a scientist’s precision and a nature-lover’s eye, Baboon Metaphysics gives us an unprecedented and compelling glimpse into the mind of another species.
 “The vivid narrative is like a bush detective story.”—Steven Poole, Guardian
Baboon Metaphysics is a distillation of a big chunk of academic lives. . . . It is exactly what such a book should be—full of imaginative experiments, meticulous scholarship, limpid literary style, and above all, truly important questions.”—Alison Jolly, Science
“Cheney and Seyfarth found that for a baboon to get on in life involves a complicated blend of short-term relationships, friendships, and careful status calculations. . . . Needless to say, the ensuing political machinations and convenient romantic dalliances in the quest to become numero uno rival the bard himself.”—Science News
“Cheney and Seyfarth’s enthusiasm is obvious, and their knowledge is vast and expressed with great clarity. All this makes Baboon Metaphysics a captivating read. It will get you thinking—and maybe spur you to travel to Africa to see it all for yourself.”—Asif A. Ghazanfar, Nature
“Through ingenious playback experiments . . . Cheney and Seyfarth have worked out many aspects of what baboons used their minds for, along with their limitations. Reading a baboon’s mind affords an excellent grasp of the dynamics of baboon society. But more than that, it bears on the evolution of the human mind and the nature of human existence.”—Nicholas Wade, New York Times

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The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Social Life of a Burrowing Mammal
John L. Hoogland
University of Chicago Press, 1995
In The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, John L. Hoogland draws on sixteen years of research at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, in the United States to provide this account of prairie dog social behavior. Through comparisons with more than 300 other animal species, he offers new insights into basic theory in behavioral ecology and sociobiology.

Hoogland documents interactions within and among families of prairie dogs to examine the advantages and disadvantages of coloniality. By addressing such topics as male and female reproductive success, inbreeding, kin recognition, and infanticide, Hoogland offers a broad view of conflict and cooperation. Among his surprising findings is that prairie dog females sometimes suckle, and at other times kill, the offspring of close kin.

Enhanced by more than 100 photographs, this book illuminates the social organization of a burrowing mammal and raises fundamental questions about current theory. As the most detailed long-term study of any social rodent, The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog will interest not only mammalogists and other vertebrate biologists, but also students of behavioral and evolutionary ecology.

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Casual Groups of Monkeys and Men
Stochastic Models of Elemental Social Systems
Joel E. Cohen
Harvard University Press, 1971

When many individuals aggregate and no special organization is imposed, casual social groups form among monkeys in tree tops and among human beings on sidewalks, beaches, and playgrounds. Joel Cohen shows that previously existing probabilistic models do not describe the details of available data on the sizes of such casual groups. He proposes a new family of models, called linear one-step transition (LOST) models, which predict observed equilibrium group size distributions, and also describe the dynamics of systems of social groups.

For the first time, he presents recorded observations of the dynamics of group formation and dissolution among human children in free play. These observations are consistent with the dynamics assumed by the LOST models. Such models suggest generalizations that may apply to epidemiology, the sociology of rumors, and traffic control. Within biology, this approach offers ways of linking the behavior of individuals with the population ecology of a species.


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Cetacean Societies
Field Studies of Dolphins and Whales
Edited by Janet Mann, Richard C. Connor, Peter L. Tyack, and Hal Whitehead
University of Chicago Press, 1999
"Part review, part testament to extraordinary dedication, and part call to get involved, Cetacean Societies highlights the achievements of behavioral ecologists inspired by the challenges of cetaceans and committed to the exploration of a new world."—from the preface by Richard Wrangham

Long-lived, slow to reproduce, and often hidden beneath the water's surface, whales and dolphins (cetaceans) have remained elusive subjects for scientific study even though they have fascinated humans for centuries. Until recently, much of what we knew about cetaceans came from commercial sources such as whalers and trainers for dolphin acts. Innovative research methods and persistent efforts, however, have begun to penetrate the depths to reveal tantalizing glimpses of the lives of these mammals in their natural habitats.

Cetacean Societies presents the first comprehensive synthesis and review of these new studies. Groups of chapters focus on the history of cetacean behavioral research and methodology; state-of-the-art reviews of information on four of the most-studied species: bottlenose dolphins, killer whales, sperm whales, and humpback whales; and summaries of major topics, including group living, male and female reproductive strategies, communication, and conservation drawn from comparative research on a wide range of species.

Written by some of the world's leading cetacean scientists, this landmark volume will benefit not just students of cetology but also researchers in other areas of behavioral and conservation ecology as well as anyone with a serious interest in the world of whales and dolphins.

Contributors are Robin Baird, Phillip Clapham, Jenny Christal, Richard Connor, Janet Mann, Andrew Read, Randall Reeves, Amy Samuels, Peter Tyack, Linda Weilgart, Hal Whitehead, Randall S. Wells, and Richard Wrangham.

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Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains
Group Living in an Asocial Species
T. M. Caro
University of Chicago Press, 1994
Cheetahs of the Serengeti Plains is the most comprehensive account of carnivore social behavior to date. Synthesizing more than a decade of research in the wild, this book offers a detailed account of the behavior and ecology of cheetahs. Compared with other large cats, and other mammals, cheetahs have an unusual breeding system; whereas lions live in prides and tigers are solitary, some cheetahs live in groups while others live by themselves. Tim Caro explores group and solitary living among cheetahs and discovers that the causes of social behavior vary dramatically, even within a single species.

Why do cheetah cubs stay with their mother for a full year after weaning? Why do adolescents remain in groups? Why do adult males live in permanent associations with each other? Why do adult females live alone? Through observations on the costs and benefits of group living, Caro offers new insight into the complex behavior of this extraordinary species. For example, contrary to common belief about cooperative hunting in large carnivores, he shows that neither adolescents nor adult males benefit from hunting in groups.

With many surprising findings, and through comparisons with other cat species, Caro enriches our understanding of the evolution of social behavior and offers new perspectives on conservation efforts to save this charismatic and endangered carnivore.

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Chimpanzee Cultures
Richard W. Wrangham
Harvard University Press, 1994
Do chimpanzees have something akin to culture? Bringing together studies of behavioral variation within and among chimpanzees and bonobos --the sibling species of the genus Pan--this book provides the basis for answering this question. In Chimpanzee Cultures, the world's leading authorities on chimpanzees and bonobos chronicle the animals' behaviors from one study site to the next, in both captive and wild groups, in laboratory and field settings.

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Chimpanzees in Context
A Comparative Perspective on Chimpanzee Behavior, Cognition, Conservation, and Welfare
Edited by Lydia M. Hopper and Stephen R. Ross
University of Chicago Press, 2020
The study of the chimpanzee, one of the human species’ closest relatives, has led scientists to exciting discoveries about evolution, behavior, and cognition over the past half century. In this book, rising and veteran scholars take a fascinating comparative approach to the culture, behavior, and cognition of both wild and captive chimpanzees. By seeking new perspectives in how the chimpanzee compares to other species, the scientists featured offer a richer understanding of the ways in which chimpanzees’ unique experiences shape their behavior. They also demonstrate how different methodologies provide different insights, how various cultural experiences influence our perspectives of chimpanzees, and how different ecologies in which chimpanzees live affect how they express themselves.
After a foreword by Jane Goodall, the book features sections that examine chimpanzee life histories and developmental milestones, behavior, methods of study, animal communication, cooperation, communication, and tool use. The book ends with chapters that consider how we can apply contemporary knowledge of chimpanzees to enhance their care and conservation. Collectively, these chapters remind us of the importance of considering the social, ecological, and cognitive context of chimpanzee behavior, and how these contexts shape our comprehension of chimpanzees. Only by leveraging these powerful perspectives do we stand a chance at improving how we understand, care for, and protect this species.

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Coloniality in the Cliff Swallow
The Effect of Group Size on Social Behavior
Charles R. Brown and Mary Bomberger Brown
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Many animal species live and breed in colonies. Although biologists have documented numerous costs and benefits of group living, such as increased competition for limited resources and more pairs of eyes to watch for predators, they often still do not agree on why coloniality evolved in the first place.

Drawing on their twelve-year study of a population of cliff swallows in Nebraska, the Browns investigate twenty-six social and ecological costs and benefits of coloniality, many never before addressed in a systematic way for any species. They explore how these costs and benefits are reflected in reproductive success and survivorship, and speculate on the evolution of cliff swallow coloniality.

This work, the most comprehensive and detailed study of vertebrate coloniality to date, will be of interest to all who study social animals, including behavioral ecologists, population biologists, ornithologists, and parasitologists. Its focus on the evolution of coloniality will also appeal to evolutionary biologists and to psychologists studying decision making in animals.

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The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins
Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell
University of Chicago Press, 2014
In the songs and bubble feeding of humpback whales; in young killer whales learning to knock a seal from an ice floe in the same way their mother does; and in the use of sea sponges by the dolphins of Shark Bay, Australia, to protect their beaks while foraging for fish, we find clear examples of the transmission of information among cetaceans. Just as human cultures pass on languages and turns of phrase, tastes in food (and in how it is acquired), and modes of dress, could whales and dolphins have developed a culture of their very own?

Unequivocally: yes. In The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins, cetacean biologists Hal Whitehead, who has spent much of his life on the ocean trying to understand whales, and Luke Rendell, whose research focuses on the evolution of social learning, open an astounding porthole onto the fascinating culture beneath the waves. As Whitehead and Rendell show, cetacean culture and its transmission are shaped by a blend of adaptations, innate sociality, and the unique environment in which whales and dolphins live: a watery world in which a hundred-and-fifty-ton blue whale can move with utter grace, and where the vertical expanse is as vital, and almost as vast, as the horizontal.

Drawing on their own research as well as a scientific literature as immense as the sea—including evolutionary biology, animal behavior, ecology, anthropology, psychology, and neuroscience—Whitehead and Rendell dive into realms both humbling and enlightening as they seek to define what cetacean culture is, why it exists, and what it means for the future of whales and dolphins. And, ultimately, what it means for our future, as well.

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The Evolution of Primate Societies
Edited by John C. Mitani, Josep Call, Peter M. Kappeler, Ryne A. Palombit, and Joan B. Silk
University of Chicago Press, 2012

In 1987, the University of Chicago Press published Primate Societies, the standard reference in the field of primate behavior for an entire generation of students and scientists. But in the twenty-five years since its publication, new theories and research techniques for studying the Primate order have been developed, debated, and tested, forcing scientists to revise their understanding of our closest living relatives.

Intended as a sequel to Primate Societies, The Evolution of Primate Societies compiles thirty-one chapters that review the current state of knowledge regarding the behavior of nonhuman primates. Chapters are written by the leading authorities in the field and organized around four major adaptive problems primates face as they strive to grow, maintain themselves, and reproduce in the wild. The inclusion of chapters on the behavior of humans at the end of each major section represents one particularly novel aspect of the book, and it will remind readers what we can learn about ourselves through research on nonhuman primates. The final section highlights some of the innovative and cutting-edge research designed to reveal the similarities and differences between nonhuman and human primate cognition. The Evolution of Primate Societies will be every bit the landmark publication its predecessor has been.


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Genetics and the Social Behaviour of the Dog
John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller
University of Chicago Press, 1974
The classic study of dog behavior gathered into one volume. Based on twenty years of research at the Jackson Laboratory, this is the single most important and comprehensive reference work on the behavior of dogs ever complied.

"Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog is one of the most important texts on canine behavior published to date. Anyone interested in breeding, training, or canine behavior must own this book."—Wayne Hunthausen, D.V.M., Director of Animal Behavior Consultations

"This pioneering research on dog behavioral genetics is a timeless classic for all serious students of ethology and canine behavior."—Dr. Michael Fox, Senior Advisor to the President, The Humane Society of the United States

"A major authoritative work. . . . Immensely rewarding reading for anyone concerned with dog-breeding."—Times Literary Supplement

"The last comprehensive study [of dog behavior] was concluded more than thirty years ago, when John Paul Scott and John L. Fuller published their seminal work Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog."—Mark Derr, The Atlantic Monthly

"Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog is essential reading for anyone involved in the breeding of dogs. No breeder can afford to ignore the principles of proper socialization first discovered and articulated in this landmark study."-The Monks of New Skete, authors of How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend and the video series Raising Your Dog with the Monks of New Skete.

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Gorilla Society
Conflict, Compromise, and Cooperation Between the Sexes
Alexander H. Harcourt and Kelly J. Stewart
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Societies develop as a result of the interactions of individuals as they compete and cooperate with one another in the evolutionary struggle to survive and reproduce successfully. Gorilla society is arranged according to these different and sometimes conflicting evolutionary goals of the sexes. In seeking to understand why gorilla society exists as it does, Alexander H. Harcourt and Kelly J. Stewart bring together extensive data on wild gorillas, collected over decades by numerous researchers working in diverse habitats across Africa, to illustrate how the social system of gorillas has evolved and endured.

Gorilla Society introduces recent theories explaining primate societies, describes gorilla life history, ecology, and social systems, and explores both sexes’ evolutionary strategies of survival and reproduction. With a focus on the future, Harcourt and Stewart conclude with suggestions for future research and conservation. An exemplary work of socioecology from two of the world’s best known gorilla biologists, Gorilla Society will be a landmark study on a par with the work of George Schaller—a synthesis of existing research on these remarkable animals and the societies in which they live.


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Juvenile Primates
Life History, Development and Behavior, with a new Foreword
Edited by Michael E. Pereira and Lynn A. Fairbanks
University of Chicago Press, 2003
The first and still the only book focused exclusively on juvenile primates, this collection presents original research covering all the major divisions of primates, from prosimians to humans. Contributors explore the evolutionary history of the juvenile stage in primates, differences in behavior between juvenile males and females, how juvenile behaviors act both to prepare juveniles for adulthood and to help them survive the juvenile stage, how juveniles learn about and participate in social conflict and dominance relationships, and the similarities and differences between development of juvenile human and nonhuman primates. This edition includes a new foreword and bibliography prepared by the editors.

Filippo Aureli, Bernard Chapais, Marina Cords, Carolyn M. Crockett, Frans B. M. de Waal, Carolyn Pope Edwards, Robert Fagen, Carole Gauthier, Paul H. Harvey, Charlotte K. Hemelrijk, Loek A. M. Herremans, Julia A. Horrocks, Wayne Hunte, Charles H. Janson, Nicholas Blurton Jones, Katharine Milton, Leanne T. Nash, Timothy G. O'Brien, Mark D. Pagel, Theresa R. Pope, Anne E. Pusey, Lal Singh Rajpurohit, John G. Robinson, Thelma Rowell, Daniel I. Rubenstein, Volker Sommer, Elisabeth H. M. Sterck, Karen B. Strier, Carel P. van Schaik, Maria A. van Noordwijk, David P. Watts, and Carol M. Worthman.

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The Langurs of Abu
Female and Male Strategies of Reproduction
Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
Harvard University Press, 1977

Sexual combat is not a monopoly of the human species. As Sarah Blaffer Hrdy argues in this spellbinding book, war between male and female animals has deep roots in evolutionary history. Her account of family life among hanuman langurs—the black-faced, gray monkeys inhabiting much of the Indian subcontinent—is written with force, wit, and at times, sorrow.

Male hanumans, in pursuit of genetic success, routinely kill babies sired by their competitors. The mothers of endangered infants counter with various strategems to deceive the males and prevent destruction of their own offspring. Competition and selfishness are dominant themes of langur society. Competition among males for access to females, competition among females for access to food resources, and disregard by one female for the well-being of another’s infant—these are some very common examples. Yet there are also moments of heroic self-sacrifice, as when an elderly female rushes to defend her troop and its babies from an invading, infancticidal male.

The Langurs of Abu is the first book to analyze behavior of wild primates from the standpoint of both sexes. It is also a poignant and sophisticated exploration of primate behavior patterns from a feminist point of view. This book may inspire controversy; it will certainly be read with pleasure by anyone interested in animal behavior.

Richly illustrated with photographs, seven in full color.


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Macachiavellian Intelligence
How Rhesus Macaques and Humans Have Conquered the World
Dario Maestripieri
University of Chicago Press, 2007
Judged by population size and distribution, homo sapiens are clearly the most successful primates. A close second, however, would be rhesus macaques, who have adapted to—and thrived in—such diverse environments as mountain forests, dry grasslands, and urban sprawl. Scientists have spent countless hours studying these opportunistic monkeys, but rhesus macaques have long been overshadowed in the public eye by the great apes, who, because of their greater intelligence, are naturally assumed to have more to teach us, both about other primates and about humans as well.

Dario Maestripieri thinks it is high time we shelve that misperception, and with Macachiavellian Intelligence he gives rhesus macaques their rightful turn in the spotlight. The product of more than twenty years studying these fascinating creatures, Macachiavellian Intelligence caricatures a society that is as much human as monkey, with hierarchies and power struggles that would impress Machiavelli himself. High-status macaques, for instance, maintain their rank through deft uses of violence and manipulation, while altruism is almost unknown and relationships are perpetually subject to the cruel laws of the market. Throughout this eye-opening account, Maestripieri weds his thorough knowledge of macaque behavior to his abiding fascination with human society and motivations. The result is a book unlike any other, one that draws on economics as much as evolutionary biology, politics as much as primatology.

Rife with unexpected connections and peppered with fascinating anecdotes, Macachiavellian Intelligence has as much to teach us about humans as it does about macaques, presenting a wry, rational, and wholly surprising view of our humanity as seen through the monkey in the mirror.

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Mammalian Dispersal Patterns
The Effects of Social Structure on Population Genetics
Edited by B. Diane Chepko-Sade and Zuleyma Tang Halpin
University of Chicago Press, 1987
Mammalian Dispersal Patterns examines the ways that social structure affects population genetics and, in turn, rates of evolution, in mammalian groups. It brings together fieldwork in animal behavior and wildlife biology with theoretical work in demography and population genetics. The focus here is dispersal—whether, how, and when individuals leave the areas where they are born.

Theoretical work in population genetics indicates that such social factors as skewed sex ratios, restrictive mating patterns, and delayed age of first reproduction will lower the reproductive variability of a population by reducing the number of genotypes passed from one generation to the next. Field studies have shown that many mammalian species do exhibit many such social characteristics. Among horses, elephant seals, and a number of primates, the majority of females are inseminated by only a fraction of the males. In pacts of wolves and mongooses, usually only the highest-ranking male and female breed in a given season. Although socially restricted mating tends to lower genetic variability in isolated populations, it actually tends to increase genetic variability in subdivided populations with low rates of migration between subunits. Among some species there is little dispersal and thus little gene flow between subpopulations; other species travel far afield before mating.

The contributors to this volume examine actual data from populations of mammals, the way patterns of dispersal correlate with the genetic structure of individuals and populations, and mathematical models of population structure. This interdisciplinary approach has an important bearing on work in conservation of both wildlife and zoo populations, for it shows that the home range and the population size needed to maintain genetic variability can differ greatly from one species to the next. The volume also offers a fruitful model for future research.

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Mathematical Models of Social Evolution
A Guide for the Perplexed
Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Over the last several decades, mathematical models have become central to the study of social evolution, both in biology and the social sciences. But students in these disciplines often seriously lack the tools to understand them. A primer on behavioral modeling that includes both mathematics and evolutionary theory, Mathematical Models of Social Evolution aims to make the student and professional researcher in biology and the social sciences fully conversant in the language of the field.

Teaching biological concepts from which models can be developed, Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd introduce readers to many of the typical mathematical tools that are used to analyze evolutionary models and end each chapter with a set of problems that draw upon these techniques. Mathematical Models of Social Evolution equips behaviorists and evolutionary biologists with the mathematical knowledge to truly understand the models on which their research depends. Ultimately, McElreath and Boyd’s goal is to impart the fundamental concepts that underlie modern biological understandings of the evolution of behavior so that readers will be able to more fully appreciate journal articles and scientific literature, and start building models of their own.


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Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles
How Bugs Find Strength in Numbers
Gilbert Waldbauer
Harvard University Press, 2000

Insects that are the least bit social may gather in modest groups, like the dozen or so sawfly larvae feeding on a pine needle, or they may form huge masses, like a swarm of migratory locusts in Africa or a cloud of mayflies at the edge of a midwestern lake or river. Why these insects get together and what they get out of their associations are questions finely and fully considered in this learned and entertaining look at the group behavior and social lives of a wide array of bugs.

The groups that Gilbert Waldbauer discusses here are not as complex or tightly organized as the better-known societies of termites, wasps, ants, and bees. Some, like the mayflies, come together merely because they emerge from the water in the same place at the same time. But others, like swarms of locusts, are loosely organized, the individual insects congregating to migrate together for distances of hundreds of miles. And yet others form a simple cooperative society, such as the colony of tent caterpillars that weaves a silken tent to house the whole group.

Waldbauer tells us how individuals in these and other insect aggregations communicate (or don't), how they coordinate their efforts, how some congregate the better to mate, how some groups improve the temperature and humidity of their microenvironment, and how others safeguard themselves (or the future of their kind) by amassing in such vast numbers as to confound predators.

As engaging and authoritative as Waldbauer's previous books, Millions of Monarchs, Bunches of Beetles will enlighten and delight those who know their insects well and those who wish to know them better.


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The Mind of the Chimpanzee
Ecological and Experimental Perspectives
Edited by Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf, Stephen R. Ross, and Tetsuro Matsuzawa
University of Chicago Press, 2010

Understanding the chimpanzee mind is akin to opening a window onto human consciousness. Many of our complex cognitive processes have origins that can be seen in the way that chimpanzees think, learn, and behave. The Mind of the Chimpanzee brings together scores of prominent scientists from around the world to share the most recent research into what goes on inside the mind of our closest living relative.

Intertwining a range of topics—including imitation, tool use, face recognition, culture, cooperation, and reconciliation—with critical commentaries on conservation and welfare, the collection aims to understand how chimpanzees learn, think, and feel, so that researchers can not only gain insight into the origins of human cognition, but also crystallize collective efforts to protect wild chimpanzee populations and ensure appropriate care in captive settings. With a breadth of material on cognition and culture from the lab and the field, The Mind of the Chimpanzee is a first-rate synthesis of contemporary studies of these fascinating mammals that will appeal to all those interested in animal minds and what we can learn from them.


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Inside the Worlds and Minds of Primates
Julia Fischer
University of Chicago Press, 2017
Monkey see, monkey do—or does she? Can the behavior of non-human primates—their sociality, their intelligence, their communication—really be chalked up to simple mimicry? Emphatically, absolutely: no. And as famed primatologist Julia Fischer reveals, the human bias inherent in this oft-uttered adage is our loss, for it is only through the study of our primate brethren that we may begin to understand ourselves.

An eye-opening blend of storytelling, memoir, and science, Monkeytalk takes us into the field and the world’s primate labs to investigate the intricacies of primate social mores through the lens of communication. After first detailing the social interactions of key species from her fieldwork—from baby-wielding male Barbary macaques, who use infants as social accessories in a variety of interactions, to aggression among the chacma baboons of southern Africa and male-male tolerance among the Guinea baboons of Senegal—Fischer explores the role of social living in the rise of primate intelligence and communication, ultimately asking what the ways in which other primates communicate can teach us about the evolution of human language.

Funny and fascinating, Fischer’s tale roams from a dinner in the field shared with lionesses to insights gleaned from Rico, a border collie with an astonishing vocabulary, but its message is clear: it is humans who are the evolutionary mimics. The primate heritage visible in our species is far more striking than the reverse, and it is the monkeys who deserve to be seen. “The social life of macaques and baboons is a magnificent opera,” Fischer writes. “Permit me now to raise the curtain on it.”

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On the Move
How and Why Animals Travel in Groups
Edited by Sue Boinski and Paul A. Garber
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Getting from here to there may be simple for one individual. But as any parent, scout leader, or CEO knows, herding a whole troop in one direction is a lot more complicated. Who leads the group? Who decides where the group will travel, and using what information? How do they accomplish these tasks?

On the Move addresses these questions, examining the social, cognitive, and ecological processes that underlie patterns and strategies of group travel. Chapters discuss how factors such as group size, resource distribution and availability, the costs of travel, predation, social cohesion, and cognitive skills affect how individuals as well as social groups exploit their environment. Most chapters focus on field studies of a wide range of human and nonhuman primate groups, from squirrel monkeys to Turkana pastoralists, but chapters covering group travel in hyenas, birds, dolphins, and bees provide a broad taxonomic perspective and offer new insights into comparative questions, such as whether primates are unique in their ability to coordinate group-level activities.

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Power in the Wild
The Subtle and Not-So-Subtle Ways Animals Strive for Control over Others
Lee Alan Dugatkin
University of Chicago Press, 2022
From the shell wars of hermit crabs to little blue penguins spying on potential rivals, power struggles in the animal kingdom are as diverse as they are fascinating, and this book illuminates their surprising range and connections.
The quest for power in animals is so much richer, so much more nuanced than who wins what knock-down, drag-out fight. Indeed, power struggles among animals often look more like an opera than a boxing match. Tracing the path to power for over thirty different species on six continents, writer and behavioral ecologist Lee Alan Dugatkin takes us on a journey around the globe, shepherded by leading researchers who have discovered that in everything from hyenas to dolphins, bonobos to field mice, cichlid fish to cuttlefish, copperhead snakes to ravens, and meerkats to mongooses, power revolves around spying, deception, manipulation, forming and breaking up alliances, complex assessments of potential opponents, building social networks, and more. Power pervades every aspect of the social life of animals: what they eat, where they eat, where they live, whom they mate with, how many offspring they produce, whom they join forces with, and whom they work to depose. In some species, power can even change an animal’s sex. Nor are humans invulnerable to this magnificently intricate melodrama: Dugatkin’s tales of the researchers studying power in animals are full of unexpected pitfalls, twists and turns, serendipity, and the pure joy of scientific discovery.

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Prairie Dogs
Communication and Community in an Animal Society
C. N. Slobodchikoff, Bianca S. Perla, and Jennifer L. Verdolin
Harvard University Press, 2007

Constantine Slobodchikoff and colleagues synthesize the results of their long-running study of Gunnison’s prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni), one of the keystone species of the short-grass prairie ecosystem. They set their research in the context of the biology of the five Cynomys species found in the United States and Mexico, and detail their investigation into the prairie dogs’ sophisticated system of barks, yips, and chirps, which Slobodchikoff argues represents a referential communication capable of fine distinctions among predators.

Seen as vermin that spoiled valuable rangeland, prairie dogs were long the subject of eradication campaigns and are now threatened by habitat loss and the loss of genetic diversity. The authors hope their research will help to pull the prairie dog back from the brink of extinction, as well as foster an appreciation of larger conservation challenges. By examining the complex factors behind prairie dog decline, we can begin to understand the problems inherent in our adversarial relationship with the natural world. Understanding these interactions is the first step toward a more sustainable future.


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Primate Paradigms
Sex Roles and Social Bonds
Linda Marie Fedigan
University of Chicago Press, 1992
This critical review of behavior patterns in nonhuman primates is an excellent study of the importance of female roles in different social groups and their significance in the evolution of human social life.

"A book that properly illuminates in rich detail not only developmental and socioecological aspects of primate behavior but also how and why certain questions are asked. In addition, the book frequently focuses on insufficiently answered questions, especially those concerned with the evolution of primate sex differences. Fedigan's book is unique . . . because it places primate adaptations and our explanation of those patterns in a larger intellectual framework that is easily and appropriately connected to many lines of research in different fields (sociology, psychology, anthropology, neurobiology, endocrinology, and biology)—and not in inconsequential ways, either."—James McKenna, American Journal of Primatology

"This is the feminist critique of theories of primate and human evolution."—John H. Cook, Nature

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Primate Societies
Edited by Barbara B. Smuts, Dorothy L. Cheney, Robert M. Seyfarth, Richard W. Wr
University of Chicago Press, 1986
Primate Societies is a synthesis of the most current
information on primate socioecology and its theoretical and
empirical significance, spanning the disciplines of behavioral
biology, ecology, anthropology, and psychology. It is a very rich
source of ideas about other taxa.

"A superb synthesis of knowledge about the social lives of
non-human primates."—Alan Dixson, Nature

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The Question of Animal Culture
Kevin N. Laland
Harvard University Press, 2009
Fifty years ago, a troop of Japanese macaques was observed washing sandy sweet potatoes in a stream, sending ripples through the fields of ethology, comparative psychology, and cultural anthropology. The issue of animal culture has been hotly debated ever since. Now Kevin Laland and Bennett Galef have gathered key voices in the often rancorous debate to summarize the views along the continuum from “Culture? Of course!” to “Culture? Of course not!” The result is essential reading for anyone interested in the validity of animal culture, and what it might say about our own.

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Rodent Societies
An Ecological and Evolutionary Perspective
Edited by Jerry O. Wolff and Paul W. Sherman
University of Chicago Press, 2007

Rodent Societies synthesizes and integrates the current state of knowledge about the social behavior of rodents, providing ecological and evolutionary contexts for understanding their societies and highlighting emerging conservation and management strategies to preserve them. It begins with a summary of the evolution, phylogeny, and biogeography of social and nonsocial rodents, providing a historical basis for comparative analyses. Subsequent sections focus on group-living rodents and characterize their reproductive behaviors, life histories and population ecology, genetics, neuroendocrine mechanisms, behavioral development, cognitive processes, communication mechanisms, cooperative and uncooperative behaviors, antipredator strategies, comparative socioecology, diseases, and conservation. Using the highly diverse and well-studied Rodentia as model systems to integrate a variety of research approaches and evolutionary theory into a unifying framework, Rodent Societies will appeal to a wide range of disciplines, both as a compendium of current research and as a stimulus for future collaborative and interdisciplinary investigations.


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Sex and Friendship in Baboons
Barbara B. Smuts
Harvard University Press, 1999
When it first appeared in the mid-1980s, this book transcended the traditional ethological focus on sexual interactions by analyzing male-female relationships outside the context of mating in a troop of wild baboons. Barbara Smuts used long-term friendships between males and females, documented over a two-year period, to show how social interactions between members of friendly pairs differed from those of other troop mates. Her findings, now enhanced with data from another fifteen years of field studies, suggest that the evolution of male reproductive strategies in baboons can only be understood by considering the relationship between sex and friendship: female baboons prefer to mate with males who have previously engaged in friendly interaction with them and their offspring. Smuts suggests that female choice may promote male investment in other species, and she explores the relevance of her findings for the evolution of male-female relationships in humans.

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The Social Behavior of the Bees
Charles D. Michener
Harvard University Press, 1974

Although the honeybee is without doubt man's favorite social insect, and the most studied by him, there are twenty thousand other species of bees, many of which are social. This book is the first to offer a systematic account of social behavior in the entire super family Apoidea. Of all the social insects, the various species of bees exhibit perhaps the broadest spectrum of social behavior, including intermediate stages which are scarce or totally extinct in other groups; in this respect the bees are particularly appropriate subjects for evolutionary study.

With the aid of more than 200 illustrations, Charles Michener characterizes and describes all levels of social organization in the bees—from simple aggregations of solitary nests to elaborate, eusocial colonies. He reviews the entire repertoire of social behavior in bees and gives detailed attention to mechanisms of communication, division of labor, determination of sex and caste, maintenance and control of nest conditions, and organization of defense. In a major chapter the evolutionary context of the bee societies is extensively explored; the author examines the selective advantages and disadvantages entailed in evolving nonreproductive castes, the problem of multiple, independent origins of eusociaI behavior, and the question of “direction” in the evolution of social behavior. The final section is an account of the life history and behavioral attributes of each of the groups of social bees.


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Edward O. Wilson
Harvard University Press, 1975

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The Abridged Edition
Edward O. Wilson
Harvard University Press, 1980

“An evolutionary event” wrote John Pfeiffer in the New York Times Book Review when Sociobiology was published in 1975, “announcing for all who can hear that we are on the verge of breakthroughs in the effort to understand our place in the scheme of things.” Praised by many and damned by some, Sociobiology provided the framework for a new science—the study of the biological basis for social behavior in every species, from the lowliest amoeba colony to modern human society.

In this abridged edition, Edward O. Wilson trims his monumental work to its essential argument and most compelling examples. He retains the full basic structure of the original book, while eliminating the technical discussions and data summaries. Because of the unusual amount of interest and commentary it has generated, the final chapter on human social behavior remains virtually intact. The book has been completely reset to accommodate a convenient 8 ½ × 11 format, and Sarah Landry’s superb drawings of animal societies still accompany the text. New students and general readers can discover for themselves what sociobiology is all about and why there is so much furor surrounding it.


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The New Synthesis, Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition
Edward O. Wilson
Harvard University Press, 2000

When this classic work was first published in 1975, it created a new discipline and started a tumultuous round in the age-old nature versus nurture debate. Although voted by officers and fellows of the international Animal Behavior Society the most important book on animal behavior of all time, Sociobiology is probably more widely known as the object of bitter attacks by social scientists and other scholars who opposed its claim that human social behavior, indeed human nature, has a biological foundation. The controversy surrounding the publication of the book reverberates to the present day.

In the introduction to this Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Edition, Edward O. Wilson shows how research in human genetics and neuroscience has strengthened the case for a biological understanding of human nature. Human sociobiology, now often called evolutionary psychology, has in the last quarter of a century emerged as its own field of study, drawing on theory and data from both biology and the social sciences.

For its still fresh and beautifully illustrated descriptions of animal societies, and its importance as a crucial step forward in the understanding of human beings, this anniversary edition of Sociobiology: The New Synthesis will be welcomed by a new generation of students and scholars in all branches of learning.


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Survival Strategies
Cooperation and Conflict in Animal Societies
Raghavendra Gadagkar
Harvard University Press, 2001

Did you know that Tasmanian hens have two husbands? That cellular slime molds commit suicide? That vampire bats will share food with hungry fellow bats and that hanuman langurs commit infanticide? Why creatures great and small behave in such fascinating and seemingly perplexing ways is explained in this delightful account of the evolutionary foundations of animal social behavior.

Only in recent years have biologists and ethologists begun to apply careful evolutionary thinking to the study of animal societies--and with spectacular results. This book presents the choicest of these findings, with a remarkable wealth of insights into the myriad strategies that animals have developed to perpetuate their kind. In an irresistible style, Raghavendra Gadagkar explores the strategies of cooperation and conflict adopted by animals--from the lordly lion to the primitive wasp worker--as they choose mates, raise their young, communicate with others, and establish the division of labor necessary to feed and protect the group and safeguard their territory.

Whether focusing on the birds or the bees, this book offers both superb descriptions and lucid explanations of many different behaviors encountered in the animal world: why a ground squirrel will sound an alarm--even risk its own safety--to warn fellow squirrels of impending danger; why weaver ant larvae donate silk for nest building; why house mice raise their offspring in a communal nursery; and how animals can recognize the relatives they want to favor--or avoid.

Illustrated with both photographs and explanatory diagrams, this expert and inviting tour of the social world of animals will inform and charm anyone curious about the motivations behind the amazing range of activity in the animal kingdom.


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Thinking like a Parrot
Perspectives from the Wild
Alan B. Bond and Judy Diamond
University of Chicago Press, 2019
From two experts on wild parrot cognition, a close look at the intelligence, social behavior, and conservation of these widely threatened birds.

People form enduring emotional bonds with other animal species, such as dogs, cats, and horses. For the most part, these are domesticated animals, with one notable exception: many people form close and supportive relationships with parrots, even though these amusing and curious birds remain thoroughly wild creatures. What enables this unique group of animals to form social bonds with people, and what does this mean for their survival?

In Thinking like a Parrot, Alan B. Bond and Judy Diamond look beyond much of the standard work on captive parrots to the mischievous, inquisitive, and astonishingly vocal parrots of the wild. Focusing on the psychology and ecology of wild parrots, Bond and Diamond document their distinctive social behavior, sophisticated cognition, and extraordinary vocal abilities. Also included are short vignettes—field notes on the natural history and behavior of both rare and widely distributed species, from the neotropical crimson-fronted parakeet to New Zealand’s flightless, ground-dwelling kākāpō. This composite approach makes clear that the behavior of captive parrots is grounded in the birds’ wild ecology and evolution, revealing that parrots’ ability to bond with people is an evolutionary accident, a by-product of the intense sociality and flexible behavior that characterize their lives.

Despite their adaptability and intelligence, however, nearly all large parrot species are rare, threatened, or endangered. To successfully manage and restore these wild populations, Bond and Diamond argue, we must develop a fuller understanding of their biology and the complex set of ecological and behavioral traits that has led to their vulnerability. Spanning the global distribution of parrot species, Thinking like a Parrot is rich with surprising insights into parrot intelligence, flexibility, and—even in the face of threats—resilience.

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The Well-Connected Animal
Social Networks and the Wondrous Complexity of Animal Societies
Lee Alan Dugatkin
University of Chicago Press, 2024
An engaging exploration of the wondrous social webs that permeate life in animal societies around the world.
It’s all about who you know. Whether vampire bats sharing blood meals for survival, field crickets remembering champion fighters, macaque monkeys forming grooming pacts after a deadly hurricane, or great tit birds learning the best way to steal milk—it pays to be well connected.

In this tour of the animal kingdom, evolutionary biologist Lee Alan Dugatkin reveals a new field of study, uncovering social networks that existed long before the dawn of human social media. He accessibly describes the latest findings from animal behavior, evolution, computer science, psychology, anthropology, genetics, and neurobiology, and incorporates interviews and insights from researchers he finds swimming with manta rays, avoiding pigeon poop, and stopping monkeys from stealing iPads. With Dugatkin as our guide, we investigate social networks in giraffes, elephants, kangaroos, Tasmanian devils, whales, bats, and more. From animal networks in Australia and Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Americas, The Well-Connected Animal is an eye-opening exposé of wild friends, enemies, and everything in between.

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What Animals Teach Us about Politics
Brian Massumi
Duke University Press, 2014
In What Animals Teach Us about Politics, Brian Massumi takes up the question of "the animal." By treating the human as animal, he develops a concept of an animal politics. His is not a human politics of the animal, but an integrally animal politics, freed from connotations of the "primitive" state of nature and the accompanying presuppositions about instinct permeating modern thought. Massumi integrates notions marginalized by the dominant currents in evolutionary biology, animal behavior, and philosophy—notions such as play, sympathy, and creativity—into the concept of nature. As he does so, his inquiry necessarily expands, encompassing not only animal behavior but also animal thought and its distance from, or proximity to, those capacities over which human animals claim a monopoly: language and reflexive consciousness. For Massumi, humans and animals exist on a continuum. Understanding that continuum, while accounting for difference, requires a new logic of "mutual inclusion." Massumi finds the conceptual resources for this logic in the work of thinkers including Gregory Bateson, Henri Bergson, Gilbert Simondon, and Raymond Ruyer. This concise book intervenes in Deleuze studies, posthumanism, and animal studies, as well as areas of study as wide-ranging as affect theory, aesthetics, embodied cognition, political theory, process philosophy, the theory of play, and the thought of Alfred North Whitehead.

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Wild Justice
The Moral Lives of Animals
Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes.

Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals.

Sure to be controversial, Wild Justice offers not just cutting-edge science, but a provocative call to rethink our relationship with—and our responsibilities toward—our fellow animals.


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