Robert Sussman

Robert Sussman
Washington University in St. Louis | WUSTL , Wash U · Department of Anthropology

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160
Publications
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Publications

Publications (160)
Article
It is generally believed that competition drives evolution. Over generations, those individuals within a species who are stronger, prettier, or sexier or have specific “adaptive” traits have more offspring and thus pass on more genes for those traits. However, many results from behavioral, ecological, hormonal, and brain‐imaging studies offer a new...
Article
John Buettner‐Janusch (1924–92), a biochemical geneticist and cytogeneticist, was one of the most prestigious physical anthropologists of his time. He served on the faculties of Yale University, Duke University, and New York University, and as the co‐founder and director of the Duke University Primate Facility. His numerous writings include the tex...
Article
A generally accepted paradigm in western society paints humans as top predators, defined by a long history of hunting as a way of life. However, this may be a stereotype fostered by western culture rather than supported through indisputable scientific proof. Biological anthropologists, using fossil evidence, archaeological data, nonhuman primate co...
Article
Dr. Alison Jolly was a primatologist whose research focused on the behavioral ecology and conservation of Malagasy lemurs. Her main interest was Lemur catta (the ring‐tailed lemur). She wrote scientific articles and books as well as books for general audiences and for children. Jolly's work on lemur behavior and the conservation of Madagascar's flo...
Article
Full-text available
In group-living species with male dominance hierarchies where receptive periods of females do not overlap, high male reproductive skew would be predicted. However, the existence of female multiple mating and alternative male mating strategies can call into question single-male monopolization of paternity in groups. Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta)...
Article
Regulation of body temperature poses significant problems for organisms that inhabit environments with extreme and seasonally fluctuating ambient temperatures. To help alleviate the energetic costs of autonomic responses, these organisms often thermoregulate through behavioral mechanisms. Among primates, lemurs in Madagascar experience uncharacteri...
Article
While many models have been developed to depict the behavior and ecology of our earliest relatives, the Man the Hunter model has been the most widely accepted view of human evolution. Many human traits (e.g., bipedalism, tools, and fire) are often linked to this perspective. Theories of human aggressive hunters abound but are rarely based on eviden...
Article
Many models have been developed to depict the behavior and ecology of our earliest relatives. However, the Man the Hunter model has been the most widely accepted way of viewing human evolution. This theory gained ground in the mid-twentieth century and has been recycled ever since under various guises in the scientific and popular literature. Many...
Article
Full-text available
Lemur catta has traditionally been considered a species with male-biased dispersal; however, occasional female dispersal occurs. Using molecular data, we evaluated dispersal patterns in 2 L. catta populations in southwestern Madagascar: Tsimanampesotse National Park (TNP) and Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR). We also investigated the genetic di...
Article
Full-text available
Lemur catta has traditionally been considered a species with male-biased dispersal; however, occasional female dispersal occurs. Using molecular data, we evaluated dispersal patterns in 2 L. catta populations in southwestern Madagascar: Tsimanampeso-tse National Park (TNP) and Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR). We also investigated the genetic d...
Article
Genetic variability among captive and wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) was assessed using mitochondrial and nuclear DNA data. A 529 bp segment of mtDNA was sequenced and 9 microsatellite loci were genotyped for 286 ring-tailed lemurs. Samples were obtained from the well-studied L. catta population at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve and from...
Article
The insulating properties of the primate integument are influenced by many factors, including piloerection, which raises the hair and insulates the body by creating motionless air near the skin's surface. The involuntary muscles that control piloerection, the musculi arrectores pilorum (MAP), are mostly absent except on the tail in most strepsirhin...
Conference Paper
The germs of racism began even before the Spanish Inquisition. Early in European history different peoples were thought of as either Pre-Adamites or as degenerates. Pre-Adamites were biologically fixed in their characteristics and could not be changed by living conditions or by education. Those who believed that “others” were degenerates assumed th...
Article
In 1974, Cartmill introduced the theory that the earliest primate adaptations were related to their being visually oriented predators active on slender branches. Given more recent data on primate-like marsupials, nocturnal prosimians, and early fossil primates, and the context in which these primates first appeared, this theory has been modified. W...
Chapter
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The Beza Mahafaly Project in southwestern Madagascar was founded in 1975. It was established as a collaborative effort among the University of Madagascar (now University of Antananarivo), Washington University, Yale University, and the local communities for long-term training and research, biodiversity conservation, and socioeconomic development. B...
Chapter
Full-text available
There have been many attempts to reconstruct the behavior and ecology of our earliest ancestors. The most common theory and the one that is widely accepted today is the “Man the Hunter” hypothesis. Cultural anthropologist Laura Klein expresses the current situation well: “While anthropologists argue in scientific meetings and journals, the general...
Article
This book is about the evolution and nature of cooperation and “altruism” in social-living animals, focusing especially on nonhuman primates and on humans. Although cooperation and altruism are often thought to be simply remedies to competition and aggression within groups or related to the action of “selfish genes,” there is increasing evidence th...
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Full-text available
Social Behavior of Captive Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs (Mammalia, Rodentia) with Changing Numbers of Observers Black-tailed prairie dogs Cynomys ludovicianus (Ord, 1815) are diurnal rodents that live in intricate cities. Their social complexity rivals that of some primates, and, in some respects, resembles the behavior of humans. Due to the rich vari...
Article
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Biological aspects of the terrestrial garden slug Deroceras laeve including oviposition, hatching, generation period, life span as well as growth parameters were studied under laboratory conditions. Results revealed that mating is not essential for this species to lay eggs, while self-fertilization is the normal breeding system. The oviposition per...
Book
This book is derived from a conference held at Washington University, March, 2009. Authors include academics from around the world and across multiple disciplines – anthropology, psychiatry, human evolution, biology, psychology, religion, philosophy, education, and medicine – to focus on the evolution of cooperation, altruism, and sociality and pos...
Article
This is a reply to Richard Lawler's commentary on our previous work [Lawler, 2011; this issue] in which he develops a set of operational models to test socioecological theories of the evolutionary importance of feeding competition. We strongly agree that we need to critically re-evaluate the basic assumptions of all models of primate sociality, and...
Article
The presence and density of people at a zoo exhibit is associated with behavioral changes in captive animals. However, most of these studies have only investigated behavioral changes in primates. To widen the range of animal groups studied, we examined the effects of visitor observation on captive black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) beh...
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ABSTRACT  A major contribution of anthropological work has been to challenge a unitary theory of the human. In this American Anthropologist vital topics forum, a range of prominent anthropologists contribute to this challenge and provide musings on the human. The essays in this forum reflect diversity and unity of anthropological thought on human n...
Article
Full-text available
Efforts to understand the variation in primate social systems and their underlying interaction patterns have focused on both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. In the socioecological model, food distribution and abundance have been argued to be the primary influences on the social behavior of primate species. We examined the relationship of food reso...
Article
Tooth wear is generally an age-related phenomenon, often assumed to occur at similar rates within populations of primates and other mammals, and has been suggested as a correlate of reduced offspring survival among wild lemurs. Few long-term wild studies have combined detailed study of primate behavior and ecology with dental analyses. Here, we pre...
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Discussion of infant killing in free-ranging primates has focused on the sexual selection hypothesis developed by Hrdy during the mid-1970s. This hypothesis suggests that infant killing is a form of sexual competition whereby an infanticidal male gains a reproductive advantage by selectively killing the offspring of his male rivals. Despite critici...
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We evaluated the viability of colobus populations under conservative estimates of predation by chimpanzees. If fertility and mortality schedules remain constant, intensely hunted red colobus populations will experience negative growth rates if one allows the assumption of stable age structure to persist into the future. Demographic models have many...
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Chemical deterioration of teeth is common among modern humans, and has been suggested for some extinct primates. Dental erosion caused by acidic foods may also obscure microwear signals of mechanical food properties. Ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve (BMSR), Madagascar, display frequent severe tooth wear and subsequent tooth l...
Article
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Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect. Paul R. Ehrlich. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2000. 31 pp.
Article
In this paper, we present the academic genealogy of American field primatologists. The genealogy has been compiled to formally document the historical record of this young field. Data have been collected from three main sources: 1) e-mail surveys, 2) library and Internet research, and 3) verbal communication through forums such as American Associat...
Article
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Antserananomby Forest was once a refuge of the rare deciduous flora of western Madagascar. Through primate studies that were conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was discovered that the primate density and diversity in this forest was greater than any other known in western Madagascar. Although research at Antserananomby ceased in the 19...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this paper, we provide an overview of the feeding trends of Lemur catta, the ringtailed lemur, including a checklist of all plant species and plant items known to be ingested by this prosimian species in three different forests of southwestern and southern Madagascar. Ringtailed lemurs have been mainly studied in gallery forests including riveri...
Chapter
Full-text available
One of the goals of ecological biogeography is to determine correlates to species diversity and abundance in biological communities. Although large-scale disturbances, such as deforestation, have been linked to declining mammal population sizes in tropical forests, the effects of less severe forms of natural disturbances (flooding, black water swam...
Book
Ringtailed Lemur Biology is the first comprehensive volume dedicated to the Lemur catta, Madagascar's flagship species, whose black and white tails adorn tourist brochures and children's schoolbooks, and which has been studied in the wild for forty years. Written by leading research scientists in the field, this is the authoritative volume on ringt...
Article
Personality influences an individual's perception of a situation and orchestrates behavioral responses. It is an important factor in elucidating variation in behavior both within and between species. The major focus of this research was to test a method that differs from those used in most previous personality studies, while investigating the perso...
Article
The idea that competition and aggression are central to an understanding of the origins of group-living and sociality among human and nonhuman primates is the dominant theory in primatology today. Using this paradigm, researchers have focused their attention on competitive and aggressive behaviors, and have tended to overlook the importance of coop...
Article
The idea that competition and aggression, mainly over access to food and sexual partners, are central to an understanding of the origins of group living and sociality in human and nonhuman primates is the dominant theory in primatology today. Using this paradigm, competitive and aggressive behaviors are expected to be common among conspecifics [e.g...
Article
Over 15 field seasons (1987-2001), we collected census and life-history data on a population of individually identified ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Reserve, Madagascar. No significant difference was found in population size over the study period, though a marked decline in the population occurred following a 2-year drought. The populati...
Article
In lemurs, the higher taxonomic groups represent major differences in ecological adaptations. For the most part, the Cheirogaleidae, Lepilemuridae, Lemuridae, Indriidae, and Daubentoniidae all have very different habitat preferences and diets from one another. However, among closely related species there are often subtle distinctions in diet and ha...
Article
Data are presented on dental and general health for seven groups of wild ring-tailed lemurs, Lemur catta, from the Beza Mahafaly Reserve, in southern Madagascar. As part of a study of population demography, adults were captured, collared, and tagged, and biometric measurements, dental casts, and analyses of dental and general health were made. Resu...
Article
Detailed descriptions of the dentition of many strepsirhine primate taxa are rare, despite their importance in understanding primate evolutionary biology. While several researchers have provided detailed morphological descriptions of ring-tailed lemur dentition (e.g., Schwartz and Tattersall [1985] Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. Anthropol. Pap. 60:1-100; Tatt...
Article
Since the discovery of the first man-ape, many have assumed that the earliest humans were hunters and that this was associated with a “killer instinct.” The myth of “man the hunter” was repeated in the 1960s in anthropology texts and popular literature. In the 1970s it was adopted by sociobiologists to explain human nature. “Man the hunter” is used...
Article
Full-text available
We examine demographic patterns from a long-term study (1987–1996) of the population of ring-tailed lemurs in the Beza-Mahafaly Special Reserve, in southwestern Madagascar. In particular, we focus on the effects that a severe drought in 1991 and 1992 had on the population. The population of adult animals peaked in 1991 but decreased rapidly during...
Article
Linnaeus' original scientific description of Lemur catta, the ringtailed lemur, was based on a living animal brought to England in 1749. Although there were many brief descriptions of wild ringtailed lemurs, it was not until Jolly wrote her now classic book, Lemur Behavior, that we had our first detailed description of the natural history of these...
Article
The species and subspecies of Eulemur in Madagascar are in some ways equivalent to the nondescript bird species dismissed by ornithologists as ‘little brown jobs’ (LBJs), and have correspondingly attracted relatively little attention from primatologists. Yet they are diverse, widely distributed, and fill a variety of ecological roles. We review wha...
Chapter
The Guayana Shield represents a land mass of 1,800,000 km2 in northern South America (Kelloff & Funk 1995). Dating from the Precambrian, it has dominated the interior regions of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana), Venezuela, northern Brazil and southeastern Colombia (American Geographical Society 1978). Ten of the 16 platyrrhine gene...
Chapter
Análise cladistica das seqüências dos genes Epsilon-globin a e IRBP fornece informaçāe complementar importante para urn esboço das principais linhas da filogenia dos macacos do Novo Mundo. As abordagens morfólogicas e de genética molecular são razoavelmente consistentes com as evidências disponíveis através do reg istro fóssil , significando que as...

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