The extraordinary group of animals that demonstrate inquiring minds, sociable natures, superb agility, and manipulative ability -- the primates -- are the subject of this absorbing book. As human we consider ourselves the most remarkable creatures on earth, and yet the peculiar characteristics of the primates fascinate us and remind us of ourselves. Cousins covers every aspect of the world of primates, including the latest scientific theories about their behavior and evolution. The first chapter takes the reader into the world of primates and their evolution from the time of the dinosaurs onward, while the three subsequent chapters each describe in detail a distinct primate group -- prosimians, monkeys, and apes. The chapters are divided into sections that explore, using words and pictures, crucial questions about how these animals behave -- and why. In addition, pages dedicated to detailed information on particular species allow the reader to get to know these intriguing animals individually. Throughout the book, information is split into easily digestible chunks, creating a visually appealing yet mentally satisfying read and making this a great book for the whole family to enjoy.
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Professor Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Liverpool. A primatologist, he specializes in Old World monkeys and has carried out extensive fieldwork, particularly in East Africa. Professor Dunbar has studied all classes of Old World monkeys and many other primates. His publications include the best-selling books: Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language (1996) outlining the author's ground-breaking new theory about human evolutionary psychology and language evolution; The Trouble with Science (1995), reflecting on the nature of current science; and Primate Social Systems (1988), widely accepted as the bible of primate behavior. Dr. Louise Barrett is a lecturer in biology at the School if Biological Sciences, University of Liverpool. Her research in primatology focuses on Old World monkeys, including mangabeys, vervets, and baboons. Her extensive field work experience includes running a baboon research site in South Africa. She has several books in progress, among them a joint project with Robin Dunbar on human evolutionary psychology. She has also publishes many articles in academic journals, and has written for New Scientist magazine.From Booklist:
Published to accompany a Discovery Channel TV broadcast, this new examination of the primates is an excellent introduction to our closest relatives. The first section discusses what makes a primate a primate, the origins of this ancient mammal order, and the distribution of primates today. Each group of primates is separately considered. The prosimians (lemurs, tarsiers, and bush babies) are the most primitive group. The monkeys, the most numerous group, are shown to live much more social lives, and the pros and cons of living in groups are very thoroughly discussed. Finally, the largest primates, the apes, are seen to have further refined the art of living in groups--which may have led to their greater intelligence. An interesting section discusses our species and how we are similar and different from the rest of our ape cousins. Beautifully illustrated with photographs, this excellent primer to our nearest kin belongs in all libraries. Nancy Bent
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