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Academic & Professional Books  Mammals  Primates

The Natural History of Primates A Systematic Survey of Ecology and Behavior

By: Robert Wald Sussman(Editor), Donna L Hart(Editor), Ian C Colquhoun(Editor), Ian Tattersall(Foreword By)
672 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w distribution maps, b/w maps, tables
The Natural History of Primates
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  • The Natural History of Primates ISBN: 9781442248991 Paperback Oct 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £69.00
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

The interest in primates, from lemurs to gorillas, has never been greater. Primatologists are continually finding evidence in the behaviour and ecology of our closest genetic relatives that sheds light on human origins. So, just who are these 520+ species of complex and intelligent mammals inhabiting the Neotropics, Africa, Madagascar, and Asia?

The Natural History of Primates provides the most current information on wild primates from experts who have studied them in their natural environments. This volume provides up-to-date facts and figures on how groups of social primates interact with each other and the plants and other animal species in their ecosystems: what they eat, which predators might eat them, how males and females seek mates, how infants are raised, and myriad other fascinating details about their visual and vocal communication, their ability to craft and use tools, and the varieties of locomotion they employ. As human populations continue to expand into the rainforests, savannas, and woodlands where nonhuman primates dwell, the preservation of these species becomes ever more important. The Natural History of Primates is unique in its emphasis on the conservation status of primate species and its ample discussions of how humans and nonhuman primates can coexist in the twenty-first century.


Foreword (Ian Tattersall)
Introduction (Donna Hart)

Part I: Strepsirrhini Tarsiers (Prosimians)
Chapter 1. Lorises and Galagos – The Lorisiform Primates (K. A. I. Nekaris, Stephanie A. Poindexter, Robert W. Sussman, and Ian C. Colquhoun)
Chapter 2. Ecology and Life History of the Nocturnal Lemurs(Sylvia Atsalis and Robert W. Sussman)
Chapter 3. Diurnal and Cathemeral Lemurs(Ian C. Colquhoun and Joyce Powzyk)
Chapter 4. Tarsiers (Myron Shekelle, Sharon L. Gursky, Angela Achorn, and Ian C. Colquhoun)
Chapter 5. Reflections on Prosimian Biology (Robert D. Martin)

Part II: Neotropical Monkeys
Chapter 6. Tamarins, Callimicos, and Marmosets: The Evolutionary and Ecological Challenges of Body Size Reduction and Reproductive Twinning (Paul A. Garber and Robert W. Sussman)
Chapter 7. Owl Monkeys: Under the Moonlight (Anneke M. DeLuycker)
Chapter 8. Titi Monkeys: Tail-Twining in the Trees (Anneke M. DeLuycker)
Chapter 9. Sakis, Bearded Sakis, and Uakaris: Platyrrhine Seed Predators (Christopher A. Shaffer and Patricia T. Ormond)
Chapter 10. Ecological Niches and Behavioral Strategies of Capuchins and Squirrel Monkeys (Katherine C. MacKinnon and Michelle Bezanson)
Chapter 11. Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys, Woolly Monkeys, and Muriquis: Behavioral Ecology of the Largest Primates of the Americas (Michelle Bezanson, Karen B. Strier, and Robert W. Sussman)
Chapter 12. Primate Field Research in the Neotropics: Early History, Systematics, and Conservation (Anthony B. Rylands and Russell A. Mittermeier)

Part III: African Asian Monkeys
Chapter 13. The African Colobines: Behavioral Flexibility and Conservation in a Changing World (Eva C. Wikberg, Elizabeth Kelley, Robert W. Sussman, and Nelson Ting)
Chapter 14. Ecology and Behavior of the Arboreal African Guenons (Joanna E. Lambert, Robert W. Sussman, and Martha M. Lyke)
Chapter 15. Behavioral Ecology of Patas Monkeys and Vervets (Jill D. Pruetz, Robert W. Sussman, and Jennifer D. Cramer)
Chapter 16. Mangabeys, Mandrills, Drills, Baboons, and Geladas (Pia Nystrom)
Chapter 17. Macaques: Ecological Plasticity in Primates (Pamela C. Ashmore, Donna Hart, and Christopher A. Shaffer)
Chapter 18. The Ecology Social Structure of the Asian Colobines (Rajnish Vandercone, Camille Coudrat, and Patricia T. Ormond)
Chapter 19. Regarding Old World Monkeys (Larissa Swedell and W. Scott McGraw)

Part IV: Apes
Chapter 20. Gibbons: Arboreal Acrobats of Southeast Asia (Thad Q. Bartlett and Robert W. Sussman)
Chapter 21. The Orangutans: Asia’s Endangered Great Apes (Roberto Antonio Delgado, Jr.)
Chapter 22. Gorillas (David B. Morgan, Robert W. Sussman, Kristena E. Cooksey, Kathryn Judson, and Crickette M. Sanz)
Chapter 23. Chimpanzees and Bonobos (Crickette M. Sanz, Robert W. Sussman, Stephanie Musgrave, Juan Salvador Ortega Peralejo, and David B. Morgan)
Chapter 24. The Wonderful World of Apes … and the Adventures We Have Studying Them (Michele Goldsmith)

Customer Reviews


Robert W. Sussman was a Professor of Anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, and until his death in 2016 was considered one of the most outstanding field primatologists of his generation. He was the author of almost 200 journal articles, book chapters, books, and edited volumes on a wide range of issues in primate behaviour, ecology, and conservation. In 2015, Bob published a landmark volume titled The Myth of Race: TheTroubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea (Harvard University Press). His death represents a major loss to the world’s primate community.

Donna Hart is recently retired from the Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri – St. Louis. She earned a PhD at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research areas include predation on primates and the ramifications of predation on early hominins. The latter topic is explored in Man the Hunted, the book for which Hart, and her co-author Bob Sussman, were awarded the 2006 W. W. Howells Book Prize from the American Anthropological Association. Preceding academics, Hart worked in the field of wildlife conservation, specializing in international wildlife treaties.

Ian. C. Colquhoun first conducted behavioural observations on lemurs while an undergraduate at the University of Western Ontario. Fieldwork on lemurs continued during his MA (McMaster University) and PhD studies (Washington University in St. Louis). He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Western Ontario and past president of the Canadian Association for Biological Anthropology/l'Association Canadienne d'Anthropologie Biologique and a member of the Madagascar Section of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group.

By: Robert Wald Sussman(Editor), Donna L Hart(Editor), Ian C Colquhoun(Editor), Ian Tattersall(Foreword By)
672 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w distribution maps, b/w maps, tables
Media reviews

"All of the writers are distinguished independent investigators; and perhaps the book's most remarkable feature is that [...] the end result is as comprehensive, authoritative, and unified an account of the primates as you could ever wish to find in a single manageable volume."
– Ian Tattersall, American Museum of Natural History

"The Natural History of Primates is a rich, state-of-the-science compendium of information on the taxonomy and natural history of primates in all their glory, with chapters written authoritatively by many primatologists experienced in the field with their subjects. It should be awarded space on the bookshelves of all aspiring and professional primatologists."
– Lynne A. Isbell, University of California, Davis

"Collaborative, insightful, comprehensive, and necessary is the apt description of The Natural History of Primates by Robert Sussman and a panoply of colleagues. In this excellent edited volume there is neither theoretical myopia nor "ownership" of species and field sites. Rather, the text is an impressive overview of the natural history of, and what we know and don't know, about the living primates. A perfect legacy for Robert Sussman whose intellectual generosity and pedagogical acuity ushered in a contemporary primatology that is deeply anthropological, wholly biological, sincerely ecological, and moving steadily towards more equitable and just practices. I encourage all scholars, students and individuals interested in the marvelous world of the primates to read this text and join so many of us in learning from Sussman's vision of what primate studies should and can be."
– Agustín Fuentes, Princeton University

"The Natural History of Primates offers an up-to-date summary of the unmanageable number of field studies on primate behavior and ecology that have been published over the last 50 years. The text is an authoritative synthesis of the socioecology of all living primates, including the most recent new discoveries. Data on predation on primates are summarized in unprecedented detail, and information on the population status and conservation efforts on their behalf is more accessible than in the usual technical reports. Truly a remarkable contribution to primatology."
– Peter Kappeler, German Primate Center

"This is an extremely valuable book that provides up-to-date and thorough reviews of the naturalistic behavior of living primates by an impressive collection of authorities for each group. It will be the major go-to reference on primate behavior for scholars, teachers, and students."
– John Fleagle, Stony Brook University

"The Natural History of Primates: A Systematic Survey of Ecology and Behavior is an entirely approachable yet comprehensive introduction to primate behavioral ecology. Each chapter is organized around a taxonomic group of primates, and most are written or co-written by former students of Dr. Sussman's. The impressive scope and coverage highlight both the scholarship of the late Robert W. Sussman and his mentoring of an outstanding generation of scientists. This book is a 'must read' for students interested in learning how primates interact with their environment."
– Shawn M. Lehman, University of Toronto

"The Natural History of Primates is a most authoritative, comprehensive, and indispensable taxonomic survey of more than six decades of observations and discoveries on primate behavior and ecology. Undoubtedly it will be a historical benchmark for many years to come."
– Leslie E. Sponsel, University of Hawai`i

"The Natural History of Primates is a comprehensive, well-organized, and up-to-date text that is essential for anyone with an interest in primate studies. The book synthesizes a large amount of information according to taxonomic group, making it easily accessible to students and researchers alike."
– Nanda Grow, Washington State University

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