Ethnoprimatology: An Exploration of Human/Primate Interactions

By:
Dr. Linda D. Wolfe
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Humans interact with nonhuman primates in multifaceted ways in that they are part of human mythology, creation stories, beliefs systems, and scientific investigations. Ethnoprimatology, a new area of study, provides a holistic view of the interaction between nonhuman and human primates. Ethnoprimatology should not be confused with cultural primatology, the study of primate cultural traditions or folkbiology, the way ordinary people understand and categorize plants and animals. This paper discusses the diversity of human/nonhuman primate interactions with an emphasis on the relationships between the monkeys and people of Asia through the epic poems of the Ramayana in India and the monkey king of China. Many problems can arise when nonhuman primates and people interact such as disease exchange especially during ecotourism, crop damage, and over-hunting. The paper is based on the author’s field research in India, the reports of ethnographers of South America, Africa and Asia, and translations of myths and legends worldwide.


Keywords: Ethnoprimatolgy, Primates, Human/Nonhuman Primate Interactions
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Linda D. Wolfe

Professor and Chair, Department of Anthropology, East Carolina University
Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Linda D. Wolfe received her BA in anthropology from UCLA (1969), MA from California State University, Los Angeles (1971) and PhD (1976) from the University of Oregon. Her dissertation and research early in her career centered on the reproductive biology and sexual behavior of the macaques. Other interests included human sociobiology and creationism. Her recent interests are in establishing the field of ethnoprimatogy, the study of the interaction between human and nonhuman primates.After a stint as a itinerate professor, she joined the faculty in the department of anthropology at the University of Florida. After 11 years at the University of Florida, Wolfe moved in 1991 to East Carolina University as chair of the Department of Anthropology. There she remains.

Ref: I07P0124