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In Quest of the Sacred Baboon: A Scientist's Journey

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In Quest of the Sacred Baboon: A Scientist's Journey Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With their furry white mantles and gleaming red hindquarters, the Hamadryas appear frequently in the art of the ancient Egyptians - who may have interpreted the baboons' early morning grooming rituals as sun-worshipping rites. Back then, Hamadryas were thought to be incarnates of Thoth, the god of wisdom; today they are considered to have one of the most highly structured social systems among primates, very close, in some respects, to that of humans. In the 1960s, Kummer, after conflicts with nomadic warriors, managed to track down these elusive baboons near the Danakil Desert, and then followed them from dawn to dusk on their treks from one feeding place to another. His scientific account of this period reads like a travel memoir as he describes his encounters with the Hamadryas and the people with whom they share the desert. Winding his way through cliffs and stubble, Kummer records the baboons' social life, from the development of pair relationships to the way an entire group decides where to march each day. Much like the human nomads who cope with the harsh demands of the desert environment, the Hamadryas maintain a society that is strict and patriarchal in its details but multilayered and flexible in its largest units. We learn, for example, of the Hamadryas' respect for possession that protects family structure and of the cohesion among family leaders that lessens the threat of battle. At the same time, clear-cut personalities emerge from Kummer's account, drawing us into the life stories and power struggles of individual baboons. Whereas this rich detail holds many implications for natural scientists, the colorful way it comes to life makes for a compelling book bound toentertain and educate all readers.

Description:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [325]-331) and index.

Table of Contents

Illustration Credits
Map of Study Area
Preface: Return to Red Rock
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Hamadryas Baboon: A Desert Saint and Lecher3
Ch. 1The Zoo Baboons23
Ch. 2On to Ethiopia56
Ch. 3The One-Sided Marriage98
Ch. 4Tensions, Conventions, and Alliances among Males144
Ch. 5Life Histories203
Ch. 6Experts in a Thorny Land250
Ch. 7Anatomy of the Social Relationship274
Ch. 8The Net and the Sword301
Ch. 9The Eye of the Beholder306
Ch. 10Mahdi309
Ch. 11The Likely Evolution of Hamadryas Society: A Reconstruction and a Summary313
Conclusion319
Bibliography325
Publications by Authors Outside the Hamadryas Project325
Publications on the Hamadryas by the Zurich Group329
Films331
Index333

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691037011
Translator:
Biederman-Thorson, M. Ann
Author:
Biederman-Thorson, M. Ann
Author:
Kummer, Hans
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J. :
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Zoology
Subject:
Behavior
Subject:
Apes & Monkeys
Subject:
Social behavior in animals
Subject:
Baboons
Subject:
Hamadryas baboon.
Subject:
Life Sciences - Zoology - General
Subject:
Biological Sciences.
Subject:
Anthropology
Subject:
Hamadryas baboon -- Behavior.
Subject:
Animals - Primates
Subject:
Biology-Reference
Series Volume:
no. D-232
Publication Date:
19951031
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 pages of color plates, 3 halftones, 16
Pages:
408
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Biology » Reference
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Zoology » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » Primates

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