With the passage of time, the perceptions regarding primate studies have changed drastically. The initial studies on primates were focused towards the structural similarities between human beings and apes. However, with time, the studies also focused on behavioral and biological similarities among these species. Cooperation is a common phenomenon in human beings and primates. However, human cooperation exceeds the level of cooperation in primates because of the variety of cooperative strategies used by them. Furthermore, the cooperation among human beings and primates also differ in terms of the cognitive skills possessed by them.
This paper has discussed changes in the primate behavior of individuals over time. This study has explored the concept of cooperation in the context of studies conducted on primates as well as human beings. The differences in the cooperation between primates and human beings have also been explored.
Primates hold a special position in anthropology because they provide comparative insights to humans. The study of primates has taken various forms over time. The initial studies in primates involved the research on apes and the relationship between the structure of human and apes. With the passage of time, the old world monkeys were studied as primates because of their ecological similarities with hominids. The studies conducted on primates, the research aimed to find the relation between the ecological structure of man, and primates have given rise to several concerns. The primary concern involves the uniqueness of human beings and the existence of boundaries between human beings and primates. Despite these concerns, the studies on primates have provided meaningful insight to study human beings. With the passage of time, the studies have taken different forms. During the 1990s, several advancements occurred in primatology. The advancements were related to the deeper understanding of ecology and demography and their impact on behavior. The research on different variations based on population has resulted in the convergence of primatology, conservation biology, anthropology, and others.
When studying the evolution of human beings, it is important to consider different factors, which have affected the process of evolution. One of these factors is the culture, which can be defined as the system of inheritance. The behavior of human beings is acquired by imitation of others around them. The imitation of behavior is important as the transfer of genes from parents to children. The high-fidelity imitation is considered one of the most important characteristics of human beings that differentiate them from their primate relatives. Human beings are also considered as docile animals. They are sensitive to emotions and expressions. Human beings give much importance to the approval and disapproval of people around them. Therefore, people around us including parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and other members of the society can shape the behavior of human beings. The behavior shaping of human beings is different from the training of animals. The training of animals is different because it involves the use of different kinds of rewards and punishments. The impact of several factors on the behavior of human beings has brought several changes in the view of primate behavior. This factor has resulted in the use of mathematical models for culture evolution.
There are different processes that affect cultural change. One of these factors is the biases. Human beings do not imitate passively. However, the cultural transmissions are biased by different decision rules. The rules define behaviors that must be imitated. There are different rules that bias imitation. Some of these rules include copy the prestigious or copy the successful. Some people prefer to copy the majority.
The genetic innovations of human beings are random. The individual innovation of human beings is guided by rules, which are applied to cultural alternatives. The bias and the rules of individuals have an impact on the rate of evolution.
The natural selection has an impact on both cultural and genetic evolution. The culture selection is based on different behaviors rather than genes; however, the culture is subjected to selection thus, it favors pathogenic cultural variants.
Human beings have the capacity to live in cooperative groups. The individuals, who acquire the norms relevant to their culture, are able to survive. The development of moral emotions including shame and capacity to learn resulted in the evolution of sophisticated cultural norms. The evolutionary changes of human beings continued until people equipped themselves with cooperation and emotional attachments. People, who are unable to develop emotional attachments or control their aggression, end up exiled.
Cooperation is not only common among human beings but also primates. The hunting by lions and the harvesting by ants are the examples of cooperation among primates. According to theorists, there are different models, which explain the evolution of cooperation. It is argued that different types of cooperation are possible theoretically among human beings and animals. However, the cooperation has not evolved in some animal species. The reason for limited cooperation is cognitive constraint. These findings have a significant impact on the study of the behavior of primates. It is because the studies are now required to concentrate on the adaptive functioning of primate.
There has been the abundance of interest in the study of different models of cooperation. The researchers have spent over thirty years to study different species and to find out the patterns of cooperation among them. The most common forms of cooperation, found among species, included mutualism and kin-based association. There are only a few species, which demonstrated reciprocity. The sanctioning is not found consistently among primates while harassment occurs frequently among them.
The similarities between humans and primates were found by many researchers; one of which was Darwin. According to Darwin, the similarities between human beings and primates exist because of similarities in their ancestry. The studies of Darwin were some of the initial studies conducted on primates and their association with the human being. During the last 50 years, these studies have been advanced. During these years, genetic kinship has been emerged as the major force in the primate social organization. The genetic kinship also explains the patterns of social behavior among primates.
Cooperative behavior is not common among human beings only but it also exists among different species. When studying the differences in the cooperation of human beings and primates, it is important to define it. In this context, cooperation can be understood as behaviors, which are beneficial for individuals in the society. The simple and microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria, also cooperate with each other. The patterns of cooperation are also found in amoeba. When amoebas are starving, they form a differentiated slug. There are different species, which cooperate largely such as insects. The greater cooperation among human beings as well as different other species is because of the higher degree of relatedness among them. The distinctive feature of human societies is their large size.
The cooperation does not only exist among family members, relatives, and friends but also among friends. The modern society is dependent on the high level of cooperation between people from different cultures and societies. It is because the high level of cooperation allows individuals to achieve their goals by pooling resources and skills. There are different concepts, which explain the natural cooperation. There are also different types of cooperative behavior. The cooperation between human and non-human can be distinguished based on the need for cooperation as well as several other factors.
The closest primate relatives of human beings are Chimpanzees. Chimpanzees are one of those species who exhibit reciprocity or mutual dependence. According to the genetic and behavioral analysis, the male cooperation among chimpanzees exists is both kin and non-kin. According to the long-term field studies of chimpanzees, they exchange their services with time. The examples include meat sharing and support. The experimental psychological studies have also been conducted to study the level of cooperation among them. According to these studies, chimpanzees possess capacities required for mutual dependence and cooperation. They exhibit inhibitory control, numerical quantification, vengeance, and others. Chimpanzees also exhibit helping behavior.
The psychological mechanisms of primates demonstrate that they possess reciprocity. However, the studies conducted on the topic have considered the temporal sequences of cooperative among chimpanzees. There were two conditions in these studies. In all these studies, chimpanzees were captivated. It has been argued by Melis et al (2008), that the subjects tend to assist and help each other if their partner had previously provided them with assistance.
The patterns of reciprocity found among human beings are different from those of Chimpanzees. In contrast to the findings of primate cooperation studies, human beings engage prospectively in interactions. The interactions among human beings are classified into direct and indirect reciprocity. In direct reciprocity, human beings return the favor of the helper. This form of reciprocity has been empirically tested with the help of Prisoner’s Dilemma. According to experimental studies, human beings directly reciprocate and develop cooperative relationships with each other. In indirect reciprocity, an individual helps the other but receives the benefit from a third person. The outcome of this reciprocity is enhanced reputation of individuals.
The human beings are different from primates in such a manner that they way they gather information about social behavior is different. The information of social behavior is important for maintaining cooperation. The primates use image-scoring strategies for observing the behavior of others. The human beings are different from animals in such a manner that they acquire behavior from diverse methods including experience and observation. The social information, among human beings, is also transferred through language.
This paper has discussed the changes in the view of primate behavior over years. Previously, the primates were only studied to get biological information and to relate the information to human beings. However, with the passage of time, it has been found that the human beings and primates are also related in terms of behavior. The similarities in their behavior exist in the way they cooperate with each other. Although the study of primates provides meaningful insight about human beings, the cooperative behavior among them differs in certain ways. In primates, the cooperation can be explained through indirect benefits and the well-being of the one being helped. The partner switching is an important enforcement function among primates. The cooperation among primates exists to obtain immediate benefits. Furthermore, in primates, the cooperation is achieved in a passive manner.
On the other side, human beings exhibit active enforcement mechanisms. The behavior mechanisms of human beings involve reputation and punishment. There is a little or no evidence of reputation among primates. Human beings are also different from primates in terms of their cognitive capabilities and mechanisms. The cognitive abilities of human beings allow them to keep track of previous cooperation. Human beings also possess the capability to transfer information in several ways. This allows human beings to busy in direct and indirect reciprocity. The enforcement mechanisms are effective in maintaining cooperation. Although the cooperation exists among both primates and human beings, human beings different from animals in a way that they have the ability to utilize cooperative strategies in a flexible and effective manner.
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