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Monkeys, Apes and Humans
Anthropology 1500
Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia

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First draft due 11:00 AM Tuesday, February 8

Final draft due 11:00 AM Tuesday, February 15

Question: How do data (see below) from studies of infanticide among primates support or falsify each of the following three hypotheses: (1) the "cannibalism" hypothesis, (2) the "social pathology" (Dolhinow) hypothesis, and (3) the "reproductive competition" or "sexual selection" (Hrdy) hypothesis.

Structure: Your two-page essay should follow the format explained in the "paper organization" handout. The "audience" for your paper is an intelligent reader that does not know much about primates or the topic of sexual dimorphism, for example, an educated friend. Begin with an introductory paragraph that contains a topic sentence that summarizes the main point of your essay. Underline your topic sentence. Three points of your quiz (1 draft, 2 final) will be based on the topic sentence. Then follow with the body of your essay, and finish with a summary paragraph. You may use a table(s) to summarize data relations (highly recommended -- figures or tables are useful for this assignment). Your first draft will be edited, graded (5 pts), and returned to you. You will then rewrite your essay and turn in a final version (10 pts.).

Hints: (1) Explain each hypothesis. (2) Explain what each hypothesis predicts. (3) Explain how the data (see below) fit or do not fit predictions from each hypothesis. (4) Discuss how infanticide fits into the individual vs. group adaptation controversy. (5) Exceptional essays propose further experiments/observations/field studies that would help resolve the infanticide controversy. You may wish to propose a new alternative (fourth) hypothesis. You will want to read Boyd & Silk Chapt. 7, esp. pp. 241-247. You may wish to examine your primate data sheets and use information from them to further test your hypotheses (they are available at the MAH website).

Field observations (data):

1) Infanticide occurs after male "takeovers."

2) Males kill unrelated infants.

3) Infanticide was first observed by Monot and Hrdy among Langurs that lived next to human settlements.

4) Infanticide was later observed in "undisturbed" environments.

Infanticide is observed most frequently in species with uni-male harems and male-transfer social organization (e.g., Gorillas, Langurs, Patas, Red Howler).

Infant mortality (cause undetermined) is much higher after male takeovers in Red Howlers.

7) Females sometimes exhibit "sham estrus."

8) Females become sexually receptive sooner if their infants are killed.

9) Infanticide probably reduces the rate of population growth.

10) Over some of the geographic range of Langurs, infanticide has not been observed.

11) Female Chimpanzees sometimes kill and eat unrelated infants.

12) Male Chimpanzees sometimes kill infants of strange females.

13) Human step children are more frequently abused than natural children.


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