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Adv Vet Sci Comp Med. 1984;28:25-50.

Contributions of behavioral primatology to veterinary science and comparative medicine.

Abstract

Behavioral primatology is a subdiscipline of the research area referred to as primatology. Like primatology, behavioral primatology is an eclectic field of study made up of researchers from diverse basic disciplines having very different historical roots and employing extremely different methodologies biased by emphases and assumptions dictated by their histories. Psychologists, zoologists, anthropologists, and psychiatrists make up the majority of those currently active in behavioral primatology, but others, including those in veterinary science, are active in research in the area. Behavioral data can be useful to veterinary scientists and to those in comparative medicine and are interesting in their own right. Veterinarians and medical scientists may specialize in behavioral disorders. In addition, those not directly interested in behavior itself may still make use of behavioral indices of potential physiologic and morphologic abnormality. Often an animal may be inadvertently stressed by social and nonsocial environmental factors, and such stress effects may be first and best recognized by behavioral means. A recognition by those not in the behavioral sciences of the basic feral behavior of primates can go a long way toward prevention or alleviation of both behavioral and physical stress of primates in captivity. Studies of free-ranging but captive troops are sources of information almost as good as, and sometimes even better than, field studies. In addition, there is a growing realization that "natural experiments" on primates in zoos can be of value, especially since many species held in zoologic parks are those least well known in more traditional captive research settings. It must be recognized that the findings from research done on captive primates living in large field cages are not directly comparable to those derived from more directly invasive but more experimental laboratory settings. A comparative perspective on captive environments, as well as on species, is strongly recommended. Behavioral primatologists, and particularly psychologists, have long been interested in behavioral development in various species of primates. A recognition of the importance of the effects of early experience, of species differences in development, of sex differences in development, of differences in species-specific social structures and in the relative plasticity of these, and of differences in symptoms of behavioral abnormality can contribute to the arsenal of techniques that might be used to improve the well-being of the primates and can help in the selection of appropriate animal models of disorder in humans for those in comparative medicine.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PMID:
6395672
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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