Institute of Archaeology
IAMS Masters bursaries

Primate Socioecology

The behaviour and ecology of living primates will be studied, as well as the general theoretical background to animal behaviour developed by evolutionary ecology. The focus is on current Darwinian paradigms about the evolution of the societies of primates. About 200 species including humans belong to this mammalian order. Like all animals, they are faced with the problems of how to survive, breed and rear offspring. Some animals do better in this regard than others - they have a higher reproductive success and their genetic information will be more frequently represented in future generations. The social behaviour of primates is particularly complex and can be viewed as to reflect attempts to maximize genetic fitness. The course asks how primates organize their social and reproductive strategies to adapt to specific environmental conditions.

Topics covered will include: social, mating, and breeding systems; sexual selection; parenting behaviour; ecological competition; intra-specific aggression; social intelligence (particularly deception and "language") and technological intelligence (tool use); animal rights. With visits to the London Zoo.

  • 2 hour post-graduate seminar each week.
  • Recommended attendance of 2 hour BSc lecture each week (Primate Behaviour and Ecology).

Course information

  • Code: ARCLG216/ANTHGH15
  • Credits: 15
  • Coordinator: Volker Sommer
  • Prerequisite:
  • Handbook:

For registered students

  • Moodle page:
  • Reading list:


  • Running in 2014-15

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