time and room: MWF 11:10-12am SLS G26

John Limber, 108 Conant Hall; office hours Mon 12-1,Wed. 12:30-1:30, and by appointment . Phone 862-3175 but do not rely on voice messages! E-mail: jel@christa.unh.edu (I check this every day and will try to promptly answer any questions sent me.)

text, readings, and notes

texts (available at the Durham Book Exchange)

Bryne, R., (1995). The thinking ape. Oxford: Oxford University Press

Jones, S., Martin, R. D., & Pilbeam, D. (Ed.). (1992). The Cambridge encyclopedia of human evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (This is not a typical text but an encyclopedia with lots of relevant information. It is an excellent book value and I recommend that you have access to a copy. One copy will be on reserve.)

reserve readings

I have put together a set of readings that cover many aspects of the study of primate behavior -- history, research, and conjecture about evolution. These are on reserve.

internet (more on this soon)

Additional notes and primate information will be found on my www "homepage" under the heading of "Primates." You can access this with Netscape (click) or lynx (right arrow key). For example from any UNH terminal you can type:

lynx http://pubpages.unh.edu /~jel Lynx does not allow viewing graphics but will enable you to read (and print) notes and exam information.

goals, grading and requirements


The foremost goal of this course is to further our understanding of human nature through a comparative and contrastive study of primates. We will focus primarily on the behavior of large primates including us humans but we will also look into the biological and evolutionary foundations of those behaviors. Inevitably there will be discussion of various methodological, historical, philosophical and ethical issues surrounding primates and their study.


Your grade will be based primarily on 4 exams, a final 6 to 8 page paper worth about 1 exam, and class participation (<10%). There will be no makeup exams; plan ahead for Feb.14, Mar 10, April 14, May 07. No final exam!



The exams will include multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions; a study guide will be available at least a week before each exam. Essays must be written in a "blue" exam booklet. The exams are somewhat cumulative but will focus on recent material as indicated in the guides.

research paper (to be discussed)

This may be on any topic related to course material. It must be in APA style in regard to footnotes and references. See Bryne (1995) for an example of this style. You will lose points for incomplete references. The structure and goals will vary for each of you but all --with few exceptions-- should involve (1) a brief review of the topic, (2) a comparative analysis with some implications for human psychology, (3) at least two references within the last two years and (4) some explicit reference and integration with class readings, discussions, and videos where appropriate. Everyone will turn in a list of possible topics and an outline. All outlines (with references) must be approved by me before you begin the paper; these outlines must be attached at the end of your paper when submitted. You may submit your topics and outline any time before the dates given below. I assume you all know the difference between summarizing others ideas and plagiarism; if you have any questions see me. When in doubt, cite the source of your idea.

class participation

I expect everyone to attend class and contribute to the discussion--many of you may have expertise in topics relevant to this class. An very important component of this course are the videos-- which cannot be made up later. You will be responsible for any information discussed in class, shown in videos, or raised in your readings whether discussed or not. If you don't understand--ask!

course calendar (tentative 1/97)

Nearly all of your assignments will be given well in advance but on occasion new material comes along and I will give something not on this schedule. You should read the material on or before the dates shown on the schedule below-use the exam guides for specific details. Full references are given below; I have used abbreviations TA for Bryne (1995) and EHE for Jones et al (1992).

week 01 the primate family

Thinking Ape (TA) v-30

video "Life in the trees."

Pruess, T. (1995). Evolution and cognitive neuroscience. [only the Figure 81.2 and paragraphs below]

Info on the primate family in EHE: 1:33; Appendix 2 (p. 454-455)

week 02 evolution, anatomy: limbs, senses

on senses and limbs.

EHE 2.8 -2.9 locomotion pp.75-85

EHE 3.1 primate brains and senses; 3.2 the human brain, pp.109-123.

Limber, J. (1982). What accounts for our fascination with the language of apes? unpublished manuscript, Durham, NH. [Sample what the ancients thought; and especially read Descartes' ideas on differences between humans and brutes. Many today believe recent research on nonhuman primates has destroyed Descartes' argument--but has it??[1-26]]

week 03 evolution: history and theory

Greene, J. (1959). Death of Adam . Ames: Iowa State University Press. [Read about Lamarck, and others in ch.5, p.155-173. Then ch. 6 "Man's place in nature", pp.175-199 documenting how the knowledge of large apes grew in 18th and 19th century.][27-49]

Darwin, C. (1871/1981). The descent of Man, and selection in relation to sex (Photoreproduction of the 1871 edition ed.). Princeton: Princeton University Press. [Read ch. 1 "The evidence of the descent of Man from some Lower Form, pp.9-33; also ch. 2, "Comparison of mental powers...." pp.34-69. Note Darwin's use of primate anecdotes in his argument.][50-82]

EHE 6.6 Evolution of early humans, pp. 241-251.

week 04 evolution: brains, neoteny, heterochrony


Gould, S. J. (1977). Ontogeny and phylogeny . Cambridge: Harvard University Press. [Read ch.10 "Retardation and neoteny in human evolution", pp. 352-404. This is a complex chapter (see my notes) but it is very important. These ideas are fundamental to a plausible story of how all large apes might have a common ancestor].[83-109]

exam1, Friday, Feb. 14

Week 05 2/17-21 on primate intelligence

review brain development and sensory systems

EHE on intelligence: pp. 111, 115-119, 341,

Harlow, H. F., & Mears, C. (1979). The human model: primate perspectives . Washington, D. C.: Winston & Sons. [Read pp.1-29] [110-124]

TA ch. 3 "What is intelligence?" 31-44

TA ch. 4 "How animals learn" 45-53

TA ch. 5 "Why animals learn better in social groups." 54-63

TA ch. 6 Imitative behaviour of animals 64-79

Video: "Among the wild chimpanzees" Jane Goodall,

week 06 2/24-26

EHE (development of modern human abilities)323-360, 371

Rumbaugh, D. M. (1990). Comparative psychology and the Great Apes: Their competence in learning, language, and numbers. The Psychological Record, 40, 15-39. [125-137]

Chevalier-Skolnikoff, S. (1977). A Piagetian model for describing and comparing socialization in monkey, ape, and human infants. [136-166]

EHE (diet) 41-74; 284-286; 443

Milton, K. (1988). Foraging behaviour and the evolution of primate intelligence. [167-177]

TA ch. 12 "Food for thought"

week 07 3/05-07

TA Ch. 7 Understanding how things work 83-99

TA ch. 8 Understanding minds

week 08 3/10-14 exam 2, Monday, March 10