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BioAnth Courses: B17 – Our Extended Family: Primate biology and behaviour

B17 – Our Extended Family: Primate biology and behaviour

b17This paper explores the fascinating world of our closest relatives in the animal world - the diversity, evolution, ecology, adaptation and behaviour of non-human primates.

The paper introduces students to the major issues that arise from studying the evolution, diversity and behaviour of primates. Primates exhibit both unique features among mammals, such as their sociality, life-history and potential for culture, but they also share with them patterns of adaptive radiations, extinction, dispersals and competition. Advanced primatology thus offers an opportunity to study current research topics that bring together the general approaches of evolutionary biology and the unique perspectives of primatologists. Aspects to be covered will include comparative life-histories, diet and dietary adaptations, physiology, morphology and energetics, and social structure, and will focus on the great apes. The paper ends with an introduction to key issues in primate conservation throughout the world.


It may be taken as an option by:

  • students doing the Biological Anthropology Track in Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing the Biological Anthropology/Archaeology Joint Track as Part IIB of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students who have completed Part IB MVST, NST, PBS or Part IIA HSPS and are doing a one-year Part II in Biological Anthropology as part of the Archaeology Tripos
  • students doing Part II PBS and NST or Part IIB Archaeology
  • NST Part II Biological and Biomedical Sciences students as part of a Major in Human Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour


Paper Coordinator: TBA
Lent Term: 16 lectures & seminars
Assessment: 2 hour exam