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Apes of the World. By Russell H. Tuttle. Park Ridge NJ Noyes Data Corporation. 1987. xix + 421 pp. figures tables index. $55

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Book Reviews
By Russell H. Tuttle.
Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes Data Corporation.
1987. xix + 421 pp., figures, tables, index.
$55.00 (cloth).
In the present era of specialization, treatments of broad aspects of biology and behavior in as varied a group of animals as the
apes normally take the form of edited collections of loosely related, narrowly focused
articles. Such volumes are not without value.
However, only specialists in the field being
discussed will find most articles entertaining reading, while attempts by contributors
or editors to achieve a wider perspective are
generally feeble at best. Russell Tuttle’s book
follows an older tradition, the attempt by a
scientist with interests that go far beyond
his or her area of research specialization to
summarize a n entire field. Indeed, the author makes clear that the concept and organization of his book was strongly influenced
by Robert and Ada Yerkes’ 1929 compendium of much of what was then known about
gibbons, orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas: The Great Apes: A Study of Anthropoid Life.
Apes of the World begins with an introduction to the systematics and geographic
distribution of living apes, as well as their
putative fossil ancestors. The rest of the book
is devoted to the various aspects of these
animals’ behavior and cognitive ability. The
citations indicate that most major publications that appeared prior to 1986 were reviewed; the list of references fills an
impressive 72 pages.
The chapter “Positional Behavior” is a
concise but authoritative summary of field
observations of locomotion and posture in
great apes and gibbons. Its perusal makes
evident that field observers, with some notable exceptions, have tended to neglect this
important aspect of behavior. One can only
endorse the author’s conclusion that much
more quantitatively oriented observation will
be needed before the postcranial morphology
of living and fossil primates can be interpreted functionally. The chapter “Feeding
Behavior” is primarily a lengthy compilation
of field observations concerning foods eaten
and time spent feeding. Regrettably, the au0 1988 ALAN R. LISS, INC
thor does not discuss ape feeding behavior
in the context of the considerable literature
on relationships between food availability,
feeding strategies, and group structure. Of
general interest are sections on the comparative feeding ecologies of African primates
and on meat-eating, hunting, food-sharing,
and cannibalism. “Lodge Sites and Nesting”
is a survey of nest-building behavior among
great apes in the wild and in captivity. Tuttle concludes that this activity is predominantly learned, rather than instinctive. “Tool
Behavior” documents the impressive amount
and facility of tool manipulation and construction that has been observed in both captive and free-ranging great apes, particularly
chimpanzees. One of the more interesting
results to emerge from what is now a considerable quantity of observational data is
the existence of pronounced differences in
the amount and type of tool usage among
geographically separated chimpanzee populations.
In the chapter “Brains and Mentality,”
Tuttle notes that the paucity of neurophysiological data on apes and the increasing
reluctance to subject them (although not
monkeys) to this sort of experimentation
means that our understanding of ape neurology is limited and will increase slowly at
best. Out of necessity, therefore, his review
of ape neurology is confined to such topics
as relative brain size among species, sexual
dimorphism in brain size, and cerebral
asymmetry as it relates to right or left handedness or the potential for speech. Progress
in behavioral psychology has been more rapid
and consistent, as a survey of experiments
designed to compare cognitive abilities of one
sort or another among primate species demonstrates. Although a discussion of the selfawareness problem, i.e., are apes conscious
of themselves as individuals, illustrates the
limits of even the most cunningly designed
psychological experimentation, it is evident
that experimental psychology remains one
of the most promising areas for primatological research, and the future may bring a
resurgence of noninvasive studies of comparative psychology.
The first part of the chapter “Communication” summarizes efforts to teach captive
apes to communicate by various nonvocal
means with humans and with members of
their own species. Although many of the an-
imals achieved mastery of a startlingly large
number of “words” and were able to string
them together in apparently meaningful
ways, none seems to have achieved a mastery of syntax that would have placed its
abilities near the level of human language.
The second part of the chapter deals with
natural communication, i.e., vocalizations,
communicative postures, facial expressions,
and athletic displays, within the various
species of apes. “Sociality and Sociobiology”
considers those topics that one would expect
under such a heading, i.e., group structures, group formation, agonistic behavior,
grooming, food sharing, mate selection, sexual activity, infanticide, and so forth. The
juxtaposition of information on the various
ape species makes strikingly clear the stark
contrast between the monogamous social
structure and limited, highly similar behavior patterns characterizing all gibbon species and the variety of societal organizations
and behaviors among great apes. Perhaps
the strongest impression to emerge from the
field studies of great apes is the frequency
and magnitude of behavioral differences
among populations of the same species.
Anyone dealing with such a variety of topics can hardly avoid covering some material
in a manner that specialists in that area will
consider less than ideal. Many taxonomists,
Edited by W. Kalow,
H.W. Goedde, and D.P. Agarwal. New York:
Alan R. Liss. 1986. xiii 583 pp., figures,
tables, index. $90.00 (cloth).
This book is the outcome of a conference
held in 1985 in Germany. The title of the
text gives the purpose of the conference and
the resultant printed product. The contributors aimed to elucidate differences between
human groups that become apparent on exposure to pharmacologic or toxic agents. The
papers have been organized into six titled
but unnumbered sections in addition to the
preface and summary remarks. The first section contains introductory information, the
second deals with known deficiencies of some
drug-metabolizing enzymes, the third addresses differential consequences or actions
of specific drugs and chemicals, the fourth
examines protein variants that are known
to have, or which may have, pharmacoge-
for instance, would have altered certain passages in the sections on systematics and
hominoid evolution, or at the least called the
reader’s attention to contrary views. Such
caveats should not detract from Russell Tuttle’s accomplishment. He has written a sound
and useful introduction to the behavior, psychology, and ecology of great apes and gibbons. Moreover, despite some occasionally
strained word play, most readers should find
it entertaining reading, no mean accomplishment considering some of the included
material. One of the author’s goals for Apes
of the World was that, like the Yerkes’ volume, it would serve as a source book for biologists and social scientists, “particularly
those who would draw upon knowledge of
apes to model human behavioral evolution.”
He also intended it as a textbook in human
evolution courses that contain substantial
amounts of primatology. It is well suited for
both functions.
State University of New York
Stony Brook, New York
Yerkes RM, and Yerkes AW (1929) The Great Apes: A
Study of Anthropoid Life. New Haven, CT. Yale University Press.
netic effects, the fifth considers problems of
methodology, and the sixth section looks at
consequences, not the least important of
which is therapy. Thirty-seven papers plus
the typescript of a panel discussion are presented in the text.
The first section presents the views of a
pharmacologist (Kalow) and a geneticist
(Goedde)on differences in drug response between human populations. In addition, it
contains background information on the genetic relationships among major races, the
effect of nutrition on chemical metabolism
and its impact on individual responses to
drug therapy, and three chapters that deal
with known drug responses in indigenous
Asian, African, and North American populations. Anthropologists would be interested
to learn from Nei and Saitou’s chapter that
the allele for lactase activity [PLA’]beyond
infancy (phenotype = lactose tolerance) is
also present with fairly high frequency in
Macaca fascicularis. Although natural selection has been claimed to favor postinfancy
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