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A place that answers questions: primatological field sites and the making of authentic observations

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The ideals and realities of field research have shaped the development of behavioural primatology over the latter half of the twentieth century. This paper draws on interviews with primatologists as well as a survey of the scientific literature to examine the idealized notion of the field site as a natural place and the physical environment of the field as a research space. It shows that what became standard field practice emerged in the course of wide ranging debate about the techniques, personal qualities and site conditions best suited to the scientific study of the natural behaviour of apes and monkeys. Although the laboratory was a constant presence in this debate, the export of techniques from the laboratory to the field was limited, due to concerns that experimental manipulation would destroy the naturalness of the behaviour. The paper goes on to demonstrate the central significance given by primatologists to the unique social, historical and ecological circumstances of particular field sites, and to sketch some of the complexities that fieldworkers contend with in trying to realize their ideals. Primatologists seek field sites that answer their questions; but once their studies become long term, they also need to find questions that answer to ever changing conditions at those sites.

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... However, few primatologists have systematically explored habituation as an intersubjective process, that is, a process during which humans and primates learn to understand one another. Instead, as Rees (2006Rees ( , 2007 notes, recognition of the intersubjective nature of primate fieldwork is confined to popularized accounts. Primatologist Barbara Smuts (2001, p. 297), for instance, describes how her experiences did not always match the guidance she was given: B…although ignoring the approach of a baboon may at first sound like a good strategy, those who advised me to do so did not take into account the baboons' insistence on regarding me as a social being.Î n contrast to primatologists, scholars in human-animal relations and science studies have examined the intersubjectivity of habituation (e.g., Candea 2010;Knight 2009;Rees 2006Rees , 2007. ...
... Instead, as Rees (2006Rees ( , 2007 notes, recognition of the intersubjective nature of primate fieldwork is confined to popularized accounts. Primatologist Barbara Smuts (2001, p. 297), for instance, describes how her experiences did not always match the guidance she was given: B…although ignoring the approach of a baboon may at first sound like a good strategy, those who advised me to do so did not take into account the baboons' insistence on regarding me as a social being.Î n contrast to primatologists, scholars in human-animal relations and science studies have examined the intersubjectivity of habituation (e.g., Candea 2010;Knight 2009;Rees 2006Rees , 2007. Intersubjectivity refers to an unspoken process of awareness, attunement, transformation, and unity between humans and other beings (Dutton 2012;Hurn 2012;Siegel 2015). ...
... 250). Indeed, Western primatological approaches tend to impart an anti-interactional attitude on primatologists during training, such that remaining physically Bdistant^and emotionally Bdetached^so as to minimize one's influence on the study group's behavior has become a standard canon of primate fieldwork (see Rees 2006;Smuts 2001). At the same time, our results indicate that researchers were not always Bdetached and distant.F or example, researchers performed significantly more dominance-conveying primatedirected behavior while following group B than while following group G, demonstrating increased engagement with study animals in the context of following a habituated group. ...
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Ethnoprimatology explores the ecological, social, and cultural interconnections between humans and other primates. Since the field’s emergence, researchers have examined overlapping human–primate resource use and conflict, human–primate disease transmission, primate folklore and its influence on conservation status, and primate tourism. One facet of the human–primate interface that remains underexplored from an ethnoprimatological perspective is habituation. Habituation—defined as when wild animals accept a human observer as a neutral element of their environment—has long been considered a critical first step for successful primate fieldwork. Although primatologists have explored how to accomplish habituation, little attention has been paid to habituation as a mutually modifying process that occurs between human observers and their primate study subjects. By drawing on the ethnoprimatological approach and engaging with perspectives from human–animal studies, this manuscript examines habituation as a scientific and intersubjective process. Over seven months, we documented behavioral changes in moor macaques (Macaca maura) and human participants that occur during habituation. We also conducted interviews with researchers and local field assistants to track perceptions of habituation progress. Integrating ethological measures with ethnographic material enabled us to explore how and why quantitative markers of habituation “success” differ from subjective impressions, observe habituation—and primate fieldwork in general—as a bidirectional, intersubjective experience, and come to understand habituation as a dynamic spectrum of tolerance rather than a state to be “achieved.” Collectively, these findings have important implications for future work in ethnoprimatology and habituation methodology, as well as the practice of primate fieldwork.
... Long regarded by the more established sciences as a borderline field of questionable scientific status, due in significant part to the uniquely liminal role of primates within modern Western cosmology (Corbey, 2005;Haraway, 1990), an important dynamic in primatology's maturation has been its struggle for recognition as a rigorous and objective science. Notwithstanding the work of some early pioneers of fieldwork observation in the interwar years and the earlier less-systematized observations of explorers and naturalists (Rees, 2006;Mitchell, 1999), the initial period of institutionalization of primatology in the 1950s centered upon laboratory studies of captive populations, mainly of chimpanzees, utilizing the experimental methodologies most associated with the natural sciences. Fieldwork and observational methods were at this time seen as a form of natural history rather than "hard" science, given their reliance on observation and classification, rather than controlled experiments producing testable facts, and were thus treated as at best supplemental to the more reliable knowledge that could be produced under the controlled conditions of the laboratory. ...
... It would be an oversimplification to claim that there has been a neat inversion of this epistemic hierarchy, but during the last forty years the perceived advantages of laboratory experiments in terms of control, reliability, and replicability, have increasingly been weighed against numerous problems that have come to be associated with captive studies (Rees, 2006;Haraway, 1990). Chief among these is the recognition that primates tend to behave differently in captive conditions, so that what is being studied is no longer really "natural," but is to some extent produced by the laboratory itself. ...
... Chief among these is the recognition that primates tend to behave differently in captive conditions, so that what is being studied is no longer really "natural," but is to some extent produced by the laboratory itself. This has led to a gradual valorization of the role of fieldwork and observational methods, and a concerted effort to render these more objective and reliable, notably through the use of highly standardized observational criteria from which almost all need for interpretation on the part of the observer has been stripped out (Rees, 2006). Meanwhile, laboratory studies-though still importanthave in many cases come to play a more complementary role, being used to generate hypotheses or to subject the data emerging from field studies to controlled tests. ...
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This article reflects upon the implications for sociology of the steady accumulation of evidence in the sciences of animal behavior pointing to the existence of culture among nonhuman animals. With a particular focus on primatology, it explores how these developments challenge the notions of “culture” that continue to inform the study of human social life. The article argues that this growing challenge to the assumption of human uniqueness that has historically provided the core rationale for sociology cannot be ignored. The paper thus contributes to the overdue work of articulating a constructive response by tracing the issues involved in the encounter between these knowledges. Theoretical currents from science studies and actor-network theory are drawn upon in order to propose a reflexive and symmetrical realignment of this encounter, with significant implications for our understandings of human and animal being and subjectivity.
... Historians and philosophers of science have long questioned whether scientists think about or practice research di erently in "the lab" versus "the eld," exploring scientists' own ideas about where and under what conditions facts are most reliably elicited (Gieryn 2006;Heggie 2013;Kingsland 2009;Kohler 2002Kohler , 2011Kuklick 2011;Kuklick and Kohler 1996;Nielsen et al. 2012;Oreskes 2003;Rees 2006Rees , 2007Ries 2012;Vetter 2011). Important questions about scienti c knowledge production are tackled in these studies: Where does scienti c truth happen? ...
... Social heterogeneity is a distinguishing feature of eld science. STS scholars have noted the ways in which twentieth-century high-altitude physiologists collaborated with alpinists, royalty, artists, soldiers, and guides (Heggie 2016b, p. 815); wildlife ecologists integrated their work with the lives of local farmers and hunters (Kohler 2002); primatologists navigated amongst the activities of tourists and backpackers, hunters, people who needed wood, other scientists, local eld assistants, local administrators, park wardens and managers, and journalists (Rees 2006); and scientists conducting agricultural eld trials articulated their experiments with inspectors from the county agricultural commissioner's o ce, ...
Chapter
Over the past decade, any cautions there have been that physical activity might negatively impact the fetus, in part by limiting fetal size, have shifted towards optimism that prenatal exercise can help women gain less weight in pregnancy, reduce fetal size, and prevent childhood obesity. The result has been a growing emphasis on the risk of inactivity during pregnancy, even though scientific evidence about the impact of exercise on fetal growth is inconclusive. In this chapter, we use tools from the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) to foreground materiality in our feminist inquiry of the gendered politics of knowledge production about prenatal exercise. Drawing on Mol’s (The body multiple: Ontology in medical practice. Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2002) concept of the body multiple, which demonstrates how multiple body ontologies are performed in healthcare contexts via a range of material and technical practices, we outline two combined practices mobilized to make the risk of physical inactivity ‘matter’ in the contemporary moment, namely the privileging of the over-nutrition hypothesis and a linear model of causality. In doing so, we draw attention to the network of relations that enact this singular version of prenatal exercise risk. We conclude with a discussion of how which body ontology takes shape—of the multiple possible—is a political process.
... Historians have not adequately (or in many cases, even peremptorily) considered the afterlives of field laboratories or of other sites of scientific knowledge production; a notable exception here is Amanda Rees' (2006) work, which provides a good example of the point that the presence and activity of research and observers inevitably changes field sites (see also Livingstone, 2003). Even when the research or other scientific activity of a site is terminated and a hut or a room turned to pedagogic, touristic or domestic use, the nature of the building and the remembrance of its work can still have powerful social and cultural influences. ...
... Researchers looking at such field sites frequently refer to a mountain or an Antarctic plain as 'a (natural) laboratory', in both private and public correspondence, in scientific publications and funding proposals. This is, in both rhetoric and practice, a very different matter from the field site that is intended to offer authentic scientific insights into a 'natural' world, where natural is supposed to oppose 'artificial', taken as a system affected by the interference of people (Rees, 2006). But it is also quite different from the 'place-based research' achieved through zoological research stations, which are, as discussed above, often represented as borderlands (De Bont, 2014). ...
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This article offers a series of case studies of field stations and field laboratories based at high altitudes in the Alps, Himalayas and Antarctica, which have been used by Western scientists (largely physiologists and physicists) from circa 1820 to present. It rejects the common frame for work on such spaces that polarizes a set of generalizations about practices undertaken in 'the field' versus 'the laboratory'. Field sites are revealed as places that can be used to highlight common and crucial features of modern experimental science that are exposed by, but not uniquely the properties of, fieldwork. This includes heterogeneity of population and practice, diverse afterlives, the manner in which spaces of science construct individual and group expertise, and the extensive support and funding structures needed for modern scientific work.
... Marais attracted his subjects into observation range with a 'provisioning' technique, a practice much criticised when used by later researchers to draw wild primates to study sites. 17 Strum 24 feels that Marais was ahead of his time in that rather looking at ecology, he focused on psychological issues such as emotions and individual behaviour, something that has only returned to focus in field studies during the last few decades. For Zuckerman, field studies were not really science. ...
... 5 Marais was certainly the first to consider the principle of systematic observation of wild primates, but his work was published far too late to be of influence in the field, and neither he nor Zuckerman were systematic or objective enough to allow for the kind of field studies developed later in the century. 17 Marais' personal history was a tragic one and we still do not fully understand the role his private trauma played in his writing. Marais deserves a place in our history, but as a man of letters and a South African of importance, not as a man of science. ...
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The Afrikaans poet and writer Eugene Marais is well known in South Africa but not elsewhere. The publication of his The Soul of the Ape in 1969 triggered a hard hitting response from the British primatologist Solly Zuckerman, in which he attacked Marais' writings and rejected him as a legitimate scientist. The two never met and Marais had been dead for nearly 40 years when Zucker- man's attack took place. This paper examines the basis for Zuckerman's attack and looks at the context of both men, especially in the light of Zuckerman's combativeness and Marais' naivety and lack of scientific rigour.
... The KMP was set up in the early 1990s to study meerkats in their natural environment, habituating them to human presence to enable observers to follow them and record their natural behaviour (for the early history of the KMP, see Clutton-Brock 2008). The seeming contradiction in the previous sentence does not escape the behavioural ecologists: how do you transform an animal's behaviour in such a way that it accepts the close presence of human observers, without transforming it in such a way that you have troubled the very phenomenon you wanted to study (Rees 2006)? The KMP could be seen as a large and particularly well-designed device for managing precisely that problem. ...
... Seen from this angle, in other words, the KMP is very much a device geared to what Stengers calls the 'theoretico-experimental' model of science. The KMP is, in Amanda Rees' formulation, not simply a place that produces data, but more pointedly, 'a place that answers questions' (Rees 2006; for a sense of the range of questions answered both experimentally and observationally based on KMP data, see for instance 1999;2001;Scantlebury et al. 2002;Carlson et al. 2006 Here and There: The Ethnographic Fieldsite as Device Certainly, the KMP had changed somewhat between 2008 and 2011. In the intervening years, the project had grown: more volunteers were following more groups and taking more and different types of data as part of their day-to-day job. ...
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This paper explores fieldsites as devices, in the sense, given in the introduction to this special issue, of ‘patterned teleological arrangements’. Drawing on a discussion of my own ethnographic fieldwork with field behavioral ecologists, the article seeks to parse the insights of two literatures, namely the emergent interest in scientific fieldwork in STS and history of science, and the long-standing discussion of ethnographic fieldwork within sociocultural anthropology. Insofar as my ethnographic fieldsite is also to their biological fieldsite, this not just a straight ‘comparison’ of methodological devices, but also an account of how two differently configured devices come to interface, and where and to what extent they differ.
... Weber & Vedder (2001: 349), for example, describe what it was like to visit Visoke years after their study there had finished, and to see a group of unknown gorillas: '[i]t was like walking into a roomful of people that she didn't know'. Here, the immense significance of long-term field sites for primatological research (Rees, 2006) is reflected in the way researchers present their recollections of individual primates. ...
... 12. The time span is particularly important, both in the context of the greater scientific weight given to results emerging from field sites at which the animals have been studied for a considerable period of time (Rees, 2006), and in relation to the problem of habituation, which will be dealt with later in this paper. 13. ...
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This paper examines the content, form and function of popularized accounts of primatological research in the field. Based on the textual analysis of 11 popular accounts published from 1964 to 2001, it demonstrates that a key element of such scientific writing is the construction and presentation of the primates themselves as knowledgeable actors within particular social, ecological and moral landscapes. It places these accounts in the context of the problem of anthropomorphism within the history of the behavioural sciences, and argues that, given the importance of avoiding anthropomorphism in primatological research, the presentation of primate research subjects as persons must serve some significant function. It suggests that while one reason for this might be the severely endangered status of many primates, another might be found in the development of particular methodological strategies for conducting field site research, strategies that may help researchers form individualized relationships with their research subjects. However, such public productions of primate personality have political consequences, consequences that the science studies community needs to consider more carefully.
... Weber & Vedder (2001: 349), for example, describe what it was like to visit Visoke years after their study there had finished, and to see a group of unknown gorillas: '[i]t was like walking into a roomful of people that she didn't know'. Here, the immense significance of long-term field sites for primatological research (Rees, 2006) is reflected in the way researchers present their recollections of individual primates. ...
... 12. The time span is particularly important, both in the context of the greater scientific weight given to results emerging from field sites at which the animals have been studied for a considerable period of time (Rees, 2006), and in relation to the problem of habituation, which will be dealt with later in this paper. 13. ...
Article
This paper examines the content, form and function of popularized accounts of primatological research in the field. Based on the textual analysis of 11 popular accounts published from 1964 to 2001, it demonstrates that a key element of such scientific writing is the construction and presentation of the primates themselves as knowledgeable actors within particular social, ecological and moral landscapes. It places these accounts in the context of the problem of anthropomorphism within the history of the behavioural sciences, and argues that, given the importance of avoiding anthropomorphism in primatological research, the presentation of primate research subjects as persons must serve some significant function. It suggests that while one reason for this might be the severely endangered status of many primates, another might be found in the development of particular methodological strategies for conducting field site research, strategies that may help researchers form individualized relationships with their research subjects. However, such public productions of primate personality have political consequences, consequences that the science studies community needs to consider more carefully.
... In this Special Issue, drawing from science studies and human-animal studies (Candea 2010;Hurn 2012) and integrating ethological and ethnographic data, Hanson and Riley (2018) explore how the habituation of primates-an important, yet understudied, first step in primate fieldwork-is a dynamic, intersubjective process during which humans and primates learn to understand one another, rather than a state to be achieved (see also Rees 2006Rees , 2007Smuts 2001;Strum 1987). They argue that embracing the intersubjectivity of habituation allows primatologists to appreciate how both quantitative indicators and our own subjective impressions contribute to understandings of habituation progress, and ultimately, enables us to be better attuned to the individuals we seek to study. ...
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Most remaining populations of primates live in environments that have been influenced in some way by humans (e.g., protected forests bisected by major roads, forest–farm edges, and urban centers). The field of ethnoprimatology has made these environments where humans and other primates interface its primary concern, recognizing that to fully understand primate behavior, our research objectives and practice cannot be disengaged from the human dimension. During the field’s initial years, scholars drew largely from theory and technique in primate ecology and sociocultural anthropology. The contributions to this Special Issue, which include empirical research and review papers, exemplify how the ethnoprimatologist’s toolkit has since expanded to include concepts, frameworks, and methods from the natural sciences (evolutionary biology, conservation ecology, epidemiology), and the social sciences and humanities (anthropology, geography, philosophy, and science studies). Moreover, the settings in which to examine the human–primate interface have diversified to include rural, urban, mixed-landscape, and captive spaces. In this introduction, I review the emergence and scope of ethnoprimatology. I then challenge some of the critiques leveled against ethnoprimatology and highlight its broader conceptual contributions, key elements of the field’s maturation, and recent trends in theoretically and methodologically integrative scholarship in ethnoprimatology. I conclude by offering a set of postulates to guide future ethnoprimatological work that is theoretically and methodological pluralistic and positioned to advance effective primate conservation efforts and facilitate sustainable human–primate coexistence.
... Quant à Marion Thomas (2018), c'est davantage le problème du lieu de l'activité scientifique qu'elle met en exergue à travers l'appréhension, par les agents historiques eux-mêmes, des antagonismes entre laboratoire et terrain, métropole et colonie. Elle se situe ainsi dans le sillage de travaux initiés par l'historien de l'éthologie William Burkhart (1999) et poursuivis depuis (Montgomery 2005, Rees 2006), accordant une attention particulière à la façon dont les déclarations et revendications des chercheurs concernant les sites choisis pour mener leurs activités informent sur leur légitimité à s'exprimer en experts à propos de la vie animale. L'étude des chemins tracés par ces pionniers de la psychologie animale entre cette série de pôles éclaire l'idée qu'ils se font de la naturalité des êtres observés et de leurs comportements, tout comme de la scientificité de leurs observations. ...
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Ce dossier "Regards sur le passé" est issu d’un colloque organisé à l’occasion des 30 ans de la Société Francophone de Primatologie. Les trois premiers articles, consacrés à l’histoire de la primatologie, présentent les analyses d’historiens et traitent essentiellement de l’intérêt croissant des scientifiques, au cours du XXe siècle, pour les primates en tant que modèles en expérimentation médicale et/ou cognitive. Ils montrent en quoi la figure du singe est toujours en position d’interface dans les dualismes ayant structuré la connaissance scientifique (homme/animal, civilisé/sauvage, laboratoire/terrain, colonie/métropole). La deuxième série d’articles s’intéresse à différentes manières d’aborder le passé des sociétés de primates elles-mêmes, du point de vue des primatologues. Ce passé est appréhendé à trois échelles de temps (paléontologique, écologique, éthologique) dans lesquelles les primates sont des modèles étudiés pour mieux comprendre l’évolution humaine. Ce dossier propose ainsi des éclairages complémentaires sur la temporalité en primatologie et des travaux d’histoire rarement diffusés auprès des primatologues.
... 4 Our framework bears an obvious debt to Kohler (2002), which traces the history of American (mainly plant) ecology in this perspective, up to 1950. See also Montgomery (2005) for a focus on primatologist C. R. Carpenter in the first part of the twentieth century, paying the same attention to scientific practice in situ; Rees (2006) on the practices of the field of post-1950 primatologists, Burkhardt (1999) for a brief history of ethology focusing on the problem of place, Billick and Price (2010) on ecology and place. ...
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This paper aims at bridging a gap between the history of American animal behavior studies and the history of sociobiology. In the post-war period, ecology, comparative psychology and ethology were all investigating animal societies, using different approaches ranging from fieldwork to laboratory studies. We argue that this disunity in “practices of place” (Kohler, Robert E. Landscapes & Labscapes: Exploring the Lab-Field Border in Biology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002) explains the attempts of dialogue between those three fields and early calls for unity through “sociobiology” by J. Paul Scott. In turn, tensions between the naturalist tradition and the rising reductionist approach in biology provide an original background for a history of Edward Wilson’s own version of sociobiology, much beyond the William Hamilton’s papers (Journal of Theoretical Biology 7: 1–16, 17–52, 1964) usually considered as its key antecedent. Naturalists were in a defensive position in the geography of the fields studying animal behavior, and in reaction were a driving force behind the various projects of synthesis called “sociobiology”.
... for a lay perspective on the practice. 4 This contrasts with the notorious difficulties of 'seeing' or indeed studying many wild animals (Rees, 2006). It does seem that the relative visibility of birds plays an important role in the popularity of birdwatching as a leisure activity (see Cammack et al, 2011;Law and Lynch, 1988;Moss, 2004) 5 I generally avoid the term 'anthropomorphic', as it seems too normatively loaded to be helpful in understanding how and why people tend to highlight the similarities between themselves and other animals in this way. ...
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The question of whether to cull wild badgers in order to control the spread of bovine TB (bTB) in UK cattle herds has been deeply contentious for nearly 40 years, and still shows no sign of resolution. This paper will examine the strategic framing of badgers in recent debates over bTB in the UK media, which take two opposing forms: the ‘good badger’ as epitomised in Kenneth Grahame's children's novel ‘The Wind in the Willows’; and the less familiar ‘bad badger’: carnivore, digger, and carrier of disease. It will then uncover the deeper historical and cultural roots of these representations, to argue that underlying the contemporary ‘badger/bTB’ controversy is an older ‘badger debate’ about the proper relationship between these wild animals and humans. Finally, the implications of this finding for current debates over bTB policy will be explored.
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This paper explores the ways in which scientists have managed the concept of animal ‘agency’ in twentieth-century field based studies of animal behaviour. Using a range of popular accounts published between 1868 and 2012, it provides the intellectual and historical context for the sharp increase in field studies of animals – and their popularisations– that took place from the late nineteen-sixties on. It argues that the vivid depiction of animal characters and personalities, with individual and community histories intertwined, is firmly grounded in the methodologies adopted for field studies of animal behaviour. It suggests that intellectual interest in animal agency not only itself needs to be historically situated, but close historiographical attention needs to be paid to the public deployment of the concept for intellectual, political and moral reasons. It concludes that – as far as field studies of animal behaviour are concerned – animals are not just the subjects of research, but can often be active collaborators in the research process.
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The subject of this paper is a pioneering field study of bobwhite quail by the trapper-turned-ecologist Paul Errington and the environmentalist Aldo Leopold. Their project is significant in several ways. It produced an influential environmental view of predation and contributed to Leopold's celebrated environmental ethic of “land health.” It also exemplifies a generic type of intensive or “residential” field practice, which involves knowing a research locale as intimately its human or animal residents know it, but also as generally as do cosmopolitan scientists. Finally, this essay argues that Errington's ecology and Leopold's ethic were shaped by their own residential trajectories, from the rural Midwest of their youths, through wilder environments of the Southwest and Canadian North, and back again. Place shapes field science: not just the place where research is carried on, but the places where investigators have been in their mobile careers.
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The playback experiment – the playing back of recorded animal sounds to the animals in order to observe their responses – has twice become central to celebrated researches on non-human primates. First, in the years around 1890, Richard Garner, an amateur scientist and evolutionary enthusiast, used the new wax cylinder phonograph to record and reproduce monkey utterances with the aim of translating them. Second, in the years around 1980, the ethologists Peter Marler, Robert Seyfarth, and Dorothy Cheney used tape recorders in a broadly similar way to test whether the different predator calls of one monkey species, vervet monkeys, warn about different kinds of predator. This paper explores the circumstances leading to the ca. 1890 invention and the ca. 1980 reinvention of the primate playback experiment. In both instances, I show, the experiment served as a riposte to those arguing, on scientific grounds, that an unbridgeable gap divides human language from animal communication. I also consider how far progress in technology explains the timing of invention and reinvention. I conclude with some reflections on sifting contingent from inevitable aspects of the history of the primate playback experiment, and of scientific achievements more generally.
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This article critically examines the ways in which primatologists account for their research. Based on a series of unstructured interviews, it argues that the location of primates at the boundary between Western conceptions of nature and culture or human and animal has materially affected how primatologists talk about their research, what they find possible to write about in their research, and where they choose to publish their research. Through the discussion of a number of related topics (e.g., popular science, sociobiology, the potentially distinctive nature of nonhuman primates as objects of research), it outlines the reflexive nature of primatologists' response to the cultural positioning of their research subjects.
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Haraway's discussions of how scientists have perceived the sexual nature of female primates opens a new chapter in feminist theory, raising unsettling questions about models of the family and of heterosexuality in primate research.
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The relationship between travel, travel narrative, and the enterprise of natural history is explored, focusing on activities associated with the early Royal Society. In an era of expanding travel, for colonial, diplomatic, trade, and missionary purposes, reports of nature's effects proliferated, both in oral and written forms. Naturalists intent on compiling a comprehensive history of such phenomena, and making them useful in the process, readily incorporated these reports into their work. They went further by trying to direct the course of travel to suit their ends, but the complex story of how travel influenced the direction of study cannot be told without acknowledging the influence of objects acquired in a random fashion, arriving in a miscellany off returning ships. Travel writing complemented the activity of documenting nature's history, supplementing the range of available testimony. Such accounts of travel became an accepted source for information, cross-references, and queries, ostensibly eliminating error and advancing knowledge. The difficulty of identifying and classifying objects added to the importance of these reports; furthermore, the scope for attending to prodigies created the grounds for accepting tales of marvels and monsters. The fluid exchange between travel, narrative, and natural history often masked rather than exposed problems of belief, testimony, and evidence, perpetuating an economy of error in which knowledge was both advanced and retarded.
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1. Observations of 3 groups of baboons having overlapping territories in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve were carried out on 60 days during 1958/59. 2. Social vigilance behaviour of group and individual animals was recorded in detail when observers first encountered a group, when following a group, when a group was leaving or returning to its sleeping lairs, and when it was crossing a traffic-frequented road. Such situations, as judged from the behaviour of the groups, usually set up some degree of disturbance. 3. Results showed that: 1) single animals (usually young males) foraging ahead of a group might sometimes give the first warning of intruders. 2) females, closely associated with a large male, might maintain vigilance after the group, including the large male, had gone away. 3) large males were frequently very prominent both in stationary and in mobile vigilance behaviour, 'scanning', sitting and waiting till a group had passed ahead, and appearing very quickly to investigate after alarm barking by another animal. 4) higher-intensity vigilance by a large male was observed on different occasions, each of which involved an unusual potential threat-first presence of observers in the early morning close above the sleeping krantzes, losing visual contact with observers in swirling mist, and encroachment of a neighbouring group within or close to the territory. This type of vigilance had a two-fold effect in inhibiting normal activities of the group and in closing-up their formation. 5) a group tended to halt and wait when observers were met on its day-route; the waiting might last, in presumably hungry animals, for several hours, before a detour was initiated. 6) crossing a road showed prominent before and after vigilance by large males. 4. Assessment of all forms of social vigilance behaviour indicates that it comprises the following: 1) early warning given by a straying, restless, independent animal who is temporarily spatially remote from the main body = incidental vigilance 2) consistent watchfulness by large males, who may derive cues from the 'incidental' animals, and who may dominate and direct group behaviour in a situation perceived as threatening = dominant vigilance 3) miscellaneous barking by several animals, including young and females = undifferentiated vigilance. 5. Behaviour and social organization of baboon groups can only be objectively observed and described if presumptive terms such as 'sentinel', 'guardian', and 'leader', are discarded. A terminology consistent with the concepts of comparative and experimental behaviour study is required. 6. Comparison with data from other vertebrate groups, including 'lek' birds, ungulates, and a few species of monkey, provides some parallels in the vigilance functions of 'fringe' animals as well as of 'dominant' animals. 7. Although the present results are only a prelude to further extended study, they seem to indicate significant forms of social vigilance in baboons that are a by-product of the particular form of dominance-hierarchy and sexual-social relationships within the group. The generality of the findings must be checked by intensive field work on baboon groups in different environments.
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L'experience de Du Chaillu illustre les differences existantes entre les recherches scientifiques au laboratoire et les recherches sur le terrain. En effet, lors de son voyage en Afrique Equatoriale, Du Chaillu rapporta des crânes de gorilles qui permirent a Owen (R.) de differencier les gorilles de negres et ainsi legitimer sa recherche scientifique
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This paper has been concerned with examining the effects of choosing different behavioural parameters to investigate a particular research problem. Social relationships among a set of animals were estimated in seven different ways. Three behavioural parameters (social contacts, grooming and spatial associations) were selected and a number of sampling strategies were used to quantify them. Although the measures yielded results which correlated significantly, there were marked numerical differences between them due to the fact that they measured different aspects of a complex biological system. The differences between frequency and durational measures were investigated and the accuracy of two common durational measures was determined. One-Zero sampling was found to provide a poor estimate of the proportion of time spent grooming, whereas instantaneous or point sampling always gave a reliable estimate. Finally, the relationships between the different stages of research design were discussed. Emphasis was laid on four aspects of choosing parameters to quantify, namely, the precise delineation of the research problem, the validity of the parameters in relation to the research question, the differences between the various measures and the requirements and limitations of the other key features of research design.