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Infanticide in the natural world might be a relatively rare event, but, as the author shows, it has enormously significant consequences. Identified in the 1960s as a phenomenon worthy of investigation, infanticide had, by the 1970s, become the focus of serious controversy.
This book examines key theoretical and methodological themes that have characterized field studies of apes and monkeys in the twentieth century. As a detailed study of the scientific method and its application to field research, it sheds new light on our understanding of scientific practice, focusing in particular on the challenges of working in natural environments, the relationship between objectivity and interpretation in an observational science, and the impact of the public profile of primatology on the development of primatological research.
Most importantly, it also considers the wider significance that the study of field science has in a period when the ecological results of uncontrolled human interventions in natural systems are becoming ever more evident.