Chapter 7 - Primate Behavior Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 7 - Primate Behavior Deck (27)
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Anything organisms do that involves action in response to internal or external stimuli. The response of an individual, group, or species to its environment. Such responses may or may not be deliberate and they aren’t necessarily the results of conscious decision making.



Pertaining to the relationships between organisms and all aspects of their environment (temperature, predators, nonpredators, vegetation, availability of food and water, types of food, disease organisms, parasites, etc.).


behavioral ecology

The study of the evolution of behavior, emphasizing the role of ecological factors as agents of natural selection. Behaviors and behavioral patterns have been favored because they increase the reproductive fitness of individuals (i.e., they are adaptive) in specific environmental contexts.


social structure

The composition, size, and sex ratio of a group of animals. The social structure of a species is, in part, the result of natural selection in a specific habitat, and it guides individual interactions and social relationships.



The chemical processes within cells that break down nutrients and release energy for the body to use. (When nutrients are broken down into their component parts, such as amino acids, energy is released and made available for the cell to use.)



Groups that consist of a female, her daughters, and their offspring. Matrilineal groups are common in macaques.


life history traits

Characteristics and developmental stages that influence reproductive rates. Examples include longevity, age at sexual maturity, length of time between births, etc.


dominance hierarchies

Systems of social organization wherein individuals within a group are ranked relative to one another. Higher-ranking animals have greater access to preferred food items and mating partners than lower-ranking individuals. Dominance hierarchies are sometimes called “pecking orders.”



Any action that conveys information, in the form of a message, to another individual. Frequently, the result of communication is a change in the behavior of the recipient. Communication may not be deliberate but may instead be the result of involuntary processes or a secondary consequence of an intentional action.



Pertaining to physiological responses not under voluntary control. An example in chimpanzees would be the erection of body hair during excitement. Blushing is a human example. Both convey information regarding emotional states, but neither is deliberate, and communication isn’t intended.



Picking through fur to remove dirt, parasites, and other materials that may be present. Social grooming is common among primates and reinforces social relationships.



Sequences of repetitious behaviors that serve to communicate emotional states. Nonhuman primate displays are most frequently associated with reproductive or agonistic behavior and examples include chest slapping in gorillas or, in male chimpanzees, dragging and waving branches while charging and threatening other animals.


affiliative behaviors

Amicable associations between individuals. Affiliative behaviors, such as grooming, reinforce social bonds and promote group cohesion.



Within the group as opposed to intergroup (meaning between groups).



Portions of an individual’s or group’s home range that are actively defended against intrusion, especially by members of the same species.


core area

The portion of a home range containing the highest concentration and most reliable supplies of food and water. The core area is defended.



The ability to identify with the feelings and thoughts of another individual.



Actions that benefit another individual but at some potential risk or cost to oneself.


reproductive strategies

Behaviors or behavioral complexes that have been favored by natural selection to increase individual reproductive success. The behaviors need not be deliberate, and they often vary considerably between males and females.



Pertaining to K-selection, an adaptive strategy whereby individuals produce relatively few offspring, in whom they invest increased parental care. Although only a few infants are born, chances of survival are increased for each one because of parental investments in time and energy. Birds, elephants, and canids (wolves, coyotes, and dogs) are examples of K-selected nonprimate species.



Pertaining to r-selection, a reproductive strategy that emphasizes relatively large numbers of offspring and reduced parental care compared to K-selected species. K-selection and r-selection are relative terms; e.g., mice are r-selected compared to primates but K-selected compared to insects.


sexual selection

A type of natural selection that operates on only one sex within a species. It’s the result of competition for mates, and it can lead to sexual dimorphism with regard to one or more traits.



Pertaining to polygyny. A mating system in which males, and in some cases females, have several mating partners.



A mating system wherein a female continuously associates with more than one male (usually two or three) with whom she mates. Among nonhuman primates, polyandry is seen only in marmosets and tamarins. It also occurs in a few human societies.



Viewing nonhuman organisms in terms of human experience and capabilities. Emphasizing the importance of humans over everything else.



A standardized system of arbitrary vocal sounds, written symbols, and gestures used in communication.


biological continuum

Refers to the fact that organisms are related through common ancestry and that behaviors and traits seen in one species are also seen in others to varying degrees. (When expressions of a phenomenon continuously grade into one another so that there are no discrete categories, they are said to exist on a continuum. Color is one such phenomenon.)