Chapter 8 Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence

Chapter 8 Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence

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Chapter 8: Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence 1. Big Brains 1. Natural selection does not allow features that are costly to maintain unless they confer an adaptive advantage. 2. The investment made in a morphological feature is linked to the benefit obtained from the investment. 2. Life History Theory 3. Fundamental trade-offs constrain reproductive options. 4. A juvenile phase allows an organism to sexually mature. 5. When organisms age, fertility declines. 6. Strong selection exists against deleterious alleles that affect the young. 7. Early reproducers are small, have large litters, and have high rates of mortality. Late reproducers are larger, have small litters, and have lower rates of mortality. 8. Primates are late to reproduce and have low rates of mortality, large brains, and long life spans. 3. Why Did Primates Evolve Large Brains? 9. Competitive pressures produced by sociality 10. Need to successfully exploit feeding niches 11. Need to eat foods that require complex processing techniques 12. Need for behavioral flexibility and innovation 13. How can we test these hypotheses? By determing neocortex ratio By assessing ecological factors related to intelligence By studying the executive brain ratio 4. What do monkeys know? 14. They have knowledge of relationships that they aren’t directly involved in. 15. They understand kinship relations within their group. 16. They understand dominance hierarchies and rank relationships. 17. They can predict what others will do and adjust their behavior accordingly. Why Are Primates So Smart? Behavioral complexity is the hallmark of the primate order, and this has been attributed in part to the relatively large brains all primates possess. Defining intelligence , however, is a highly problematic issue. An operational definition used here attributes the primary component of intelligence to flexible problem solving and the ability to cope with novel situations. Arriving at a consensus for the driving factors favoring intelligence in primates is even more difficult. Many theoretical positions have been advanced as possible selective mechanisms for the trends toward
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Chapter 8: Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence increased intelligence in primate evolution, a few of which are highlighted later in this summary. Some hypotheses emphasize complex foraging strategies and ecological pressures as the primary forces driving
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This note was uploaded on 11/11/2009 for the course ANTH 5 taught by Professor Gaulin during the Fall '07 term at UCSB.

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Chapter 8 Primate Life Histories and the Evolution of Intelligence

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