PiU (samedi) wrote,

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vulpes, alopex, etc.

Oh, how I love some of my Anth 499 reading.
From Melvin Konner's Evolution of Human Behavior Development:

« Misconception 4: "If animals are so variable, we may as well pay attention to those more closely related to man, since this is where we will learn the most." This view guides the funding of research on monkeys and apes, and the comparative thinking of most behavioral scientists. It is not completely false, but it is wrong enough to require comment. Closeness of phyletic relationship is only one of at least four bases for comparing two species, and it sometimes may be misleading. The other three are similarity of reproductive strategy, similarity of ecological adaptation, and similarity of major sensory processes used in communication. The chimpanzee, our closest relative and surely worthy of study, differs from humans living under natural conditions in having a much smaller territorial or home range, doing much less hunting, and exhibiting much less pair bonding (Goodall, 1965). Hunting mammals such as lions exhibit more humanlike patterns of sharing behavior (Schaller, 1972) and teaching behavior (Schenkel, 1966) with respect to offspring than does any higher primate. Foxes, which are pair-bonding hunting mammals, and thus an excellent model for certain aspects of human parent-offspring relations, have scarcely been studied at all. »

Now I want to go out and study foxes.
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