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Gender Roles In Primates Essay

Primate behavioral and biological research has resulted in a huge number of observations that has served as basis in understanding gender roles among their closest relatives, the humans. Earlier concepts of gender differences among primates only described that female primates influenced the organization structure of primate groups. After comprehensive analyses of primate behavior for several decades, it has now been determined that female primates serve as the foundation for primate social organization, acting as the prime individuals that shape the structure of the society, as well as mold the dynamics of primate groups (Gagneux et al.

, 1999). More importantly, observations from kin selection among primates have facilitated the understanding of human sexual behavior. Primate behavioral studies have examined that the females of several primate species have diverse roles in their kin, as well as in the primate social groups. The significant increase in information associated with primate behavior has been observed in the past decade and the amount of information is massive that it has circumvented the previous knowledge on primate behavior and social roles in the past centuries.

Another primate behavioral feature that has been of interest to primatologists and anthropologists is primate dominance. Earlier studies have described that male primates have an inherent characteristic of dominance, which thus can be translated to the dominant personalities among humans. However, a novel characteristic that was recently reported involved the behavior of female primates, wherein females were observed to be highly competitive among their groups, which explains the human aspect of competition among women over different issues in life.

In addition, primate studies have also shown that female primates are very resourceful in finding ways in solving issues on daily living in the wild, including searching for food, a place to live and even finding worthwhile mates for offspring production (Pope, 2000). The female primates are also independent wherein they have the inherent ability of constructing contraptions and methods that would help in their survival in the wild.

Such observation among female primates helps in the understanding of human females and their ability to easily adapt to different situations in life, better than their human male counterpart. Primate research has also reported that primate females are assertive in terms of sexual behavior. Primate females show the ability to control a situation when a primate male is present and they are the ones who will determine whether copulation will occur with a particular primate male.

It is also interesting to know that female primates are more susceptible to promiscuity during stages of puberty than male primates. The social organization of primates is very interesting because these species also have hierarchies which determine which individual will have the right to choose his mate and this is mainly based on the level of aggressiveness of the male primate.

The most aggressive male primate is thus given the first chance to pick his female primate of choice and the least aggressive male primate often ends up with lesser of a choice among the female primates. Such behavior is generally observed in human society wherein the most aggressive men often get to choose and pursue the most attractive woman and the shy and quiet men often end up with relationships with less attractive women. The female primates have also been observed to show prime responsibility over her offspring, just like the human female (Maestripieri, 1994).

The primate males have also been determined to be responsible in finding food for his offspring, searching the forest for fruits and other plants that will be brought to their place of living to feed his young. The male primate has also been observed to protect their place of living from other predatory species as well as other aggressive and destructive male primates. Primate research has transformed our old concepts of human behavior and it is interesting to know that all primates follow the same behavior for specific situations.

References Gagneux, P, Boesch, C. , and Woodruff, D. 1999. Female reproductive strategies, paternity, and community structure in wild West African chimpanzees. Anim. Behav. 57: 19-32. Maestripieri, D. 1994. Social structure, infant handling, and mother styles in group-living Old World monkeys. Int. J. Primatol. 15: 531-553. Pope, T. R. 2000. Reproductive success increases with degree of kinship in cooperative coalitions of female red howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus). Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 48: 253-267.


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