The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Social states, behavioral flexibility and social evolution


1Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2Psychology, School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling

Thursday 10:45-11:00, Galleria South Add to calendar

A constant theme in the study of social systems is how best to characterize sociality. Traditional paradigms use group size, numbers of adults of each sex, age distributions and kinship. Layered on these key “traits” is the persistence or stability of group membership and the nature of inter-group interactions. We use a dynamic 3-D model to describe dimensions of within-group cohesion over time and space, and apply this model to two contexts. The first examines groups at the extremes of their species’ size ranges (e.g., squirrel monkeys, howler monkeys, colobus, mandrills), and the second examines known groups that have undergone marked changes in size and structure over time (e.g., lemurs, muriquis, baboons, macaques, langurs, mountain gorillas, chimpanzees). Using these and other examples, we identify constraints on social evolution due to female reproductive rates and kinship structures, and model outcomes in terms of social flexibility and adaptive potential.

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