By James Silverberg, J. Patrick Gray
This ebook explores the position of aggression in primate social platforms and its implications for human habit.
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Extra resources for Aggression and Peacefulness in Humans and Other Primates
Even if dominance was sufficient, we are still left with the question: how do baboons know who is dominant or not? Is dominance a fact or an artefact? If it is an artefact, whose artefact is it—is it the observer's, who is searching for a society into which he can put the baboons. . Or is it a universal problem, one that both observer and baboon have to solve? (Strum and Latour 1987:788, references omitted). Strum and Latour's mention of social awareness identifies our third theme: the role that dominance relationships play in the social awareness of primates.
As Sade notes: If EQ is in fact the usual condition then there must be social and psychological processes operating to ensure that the dominance order is not in continuous flux and upheaval, as should be the case under EQ alone (Sade, Chapter 3). Much recent research on dominance among primates focuses on these social and psychological processes, including the strategic use of nonviolent as well as violent tactics. Since the late 1950s, we have had evidence that physical differences in size, strength, and fighting ability do not in all observed primate troops correlate highly with dominance ranking.
Improved Methodology The development of new techniques for statistically analyzing dominance structures is a second recent advance illustrated in Sade's paper. Patterns of dominance are often difficult to describe statistically due to problems such as unobserved dyads, inconsistent outcomes for pairs of animals (sometimes A defeats B, other times the roles reverse), and lack of transitivity (as in the "cycles" where A defeats B, 16 AGGRESSION AND PEACEFULNESS IN HUMANS AND OTHER PRIMATES who defeats X, but X defeats A).