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Book review Primates of Western Uganda.

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Book Reviews
Newton-Fisher, Hugh Notman, James D. Paterson,
and Vernon. Reynolds. New York: Springer. 2006.
516 pp. ISBN 0-387-32342-2. $119.00 (hardcover).
Facing a bleak future, the cinematic pirate Jack Sparrow sighs, ‘‘The world’s the same—there’s just less in it.’’
This observation describes the current state of field
primatology. As the human population expands and
relentlessly consumes arable land, wild habitats shrink,
fragment, and deform. Today, those of us who study wild
primates do so in isolated islands surrounded by farmlands, fences, and roadcuts. This volume describes primate ecology and behavior across several such oases in
western Uganda.
The volume is broken into four sections, with the first
containing only a review of western Ugandan primate
taxonomy by Groves. He wades into the subtleties of
colobine and galagid pelage, morphology, and vocalization, but relies little on recent genetic studies. Although
his conclusions are provocative (e.g., identifying Ugandan chimps as Pan troglodytes marungensis), Groves’
reconstruction of Ugandan historic biogeography provides a testable scenario for future scholars.
The remaining sections—on ecology, behavior and
physiology, and conservation—are more extensive. Preece (Chapter 2) reviews Colobus guereza feeding and
population density and suggests that lianas are an important but overlooked dietary component. However, his
conclusions conflict with Chapman et al. (Chapter 21),
who emphasize group size as a key factor in determining
density. Twinomugisha et al. describe ecological flexibility in the golden monkey (Chapter 3), effectively combining range use, behavioral observation, and nutritional
analysis to examine dietary requirements and optimization. Chapters 4 and 5 on Budongo baboon diet are
biased by the impact of crop and garbage raiding by
baboons. Although data on dietary variation between forest and savannah baboons are clearly needed, further
discussion of the effect of these human-food sources
would have enhanced their results.
Analyses of self-medication, geophagy, and climate–
hormone correlations in Budongo chimpanzees (Chapters
7–9) present new data, but suffer from small sample
sizes and lack consistent results. However, they add to a
growing database of these rare and unique behaviors.
Similarly, Quaitt’s examination of leaf-tool use by
Budongo chimpanzees (Chapter 13) is interesting, but
with only 121 observations over 3 years, it is clear that
these behaviors represent a small fraction of this species’
behavioral repertoire.
The focus on chimps continues with Chapter 12,
where differences in party size and composition are identified between Budongo and Kanyawara. Thompson and
Wrangham offer five explanatory hypotheses, any and
all of which may influence male–female associations. In
the following chapter, the results of hormonal assays further demonstrate the flexibility of chimpanzee behavioral
ecology: at Budongo, peripheral females are in better
reproductive condition than their cohort at Kanyawara.
There is no detailed social or ecological data to indicate
C 2008
why this variation exists, but data from the Kibale site
of Ngogo, well known for its large community of chimpanzees, may shed light on these matters. A brief
description by Hashimoto and Furuichi (Chapter 14) of
female chimpanzee promiscuity at Kalinzu focuses on a
few individuals over a short time period, but their
results (some females showing very high promiscuity)
illustrate the difficulties of modeling chimpanzee socioecology given variation across sites and individuals.
Chapters 15 and 16 describe the effects of snare injuries on chimpanzee feeding and locomotion, and seem
more appropriate to the conservation section. Although
their sample sizes are quite small, these chapters provide important data on an understudied (and increasingly prevalent) phenomenon. They should lead positional behavior researchers to explore the energetic and
metabolic costs of feeding and travel in these impaired
apes. Notman’s chapter on chimpanzee communication is
unique, generating a theoretical argument for pant-hooting and calling as listener dependent as well as caller
specific. Such debate about theory of mind, while salient
when discussing chimpanzees, is difficult to evaluate
here, as the author refers to other papers for ‘‘methodological details and specific results’’ (page 305).
The gorilla chapters are meager but worth reading.
Cross-site comparisons of gorilla diet (Chapter 9) are
interesting, but the chapter ends with a single paragraph on the Bwindi gorilla diet, leaving this reader
with more questions than answers. The next chapter
describes the parasites of Bwindi gorillas, but it lacks a
detailed discussion of parasitic virulence or the implications of human and domesticate contact with gorillas,
which is alluded to by Goldsmith et al. (Chapter 23).
Nkurunungi and Stanford provide a preliminary but important review of sympatric range use over one year by
chimpanzees and gorillas at Bwindi (Chapter 11). Their
data, when combined with Goldsmith et al.’s review of
gorilla groups consistently ranging outside the park
boundaries, makes for compelling reading.
The conservation section is the best in the volume.
Ambrose’s (Chapter 20) survey of galagos and pottos
across western Uganda suffers from short census duration but offers intriguing results. The low density of the
hardy Galago thomasi at Budongo, the identification of
Mabira forest as a faunal boundary site, and the impact
of forest disturbance on strepsirrhine distribution show
the need for further study of these primates in Uganda.
Plumptre presents a detailed review of dietary overlap in
Budongo primates, comparing logged and unlogged forest
compartments (Chapter 20). He finds that logging has
increased tree diversity at Budongo and describes a high
degree of overlap in primate diets there with surprisingly
high frugivory in C. guereza. These results dovetail nicely
with those of Chapman et al. (Chapter 21), where examination of colobine feeding preferences, food availability,
and forest-fragment use offers some hope to the continued
survival of primates in fragmented forests. Although both
red and black-and-white colobus monkeys are sensitive to
habitat changes, they use an array of behavioral offsets
(group size, polyspecific association) to maintain themselves in marginal environments. Note I do not say thrive,
as the authors offer a challenging set of unanswered questions that require immediate attention, for example, how
and why logged forest succession influences population
growth variation in colobines.
The final three chapters emphasize the dangers and
traumas, from encroachment to tourism, facing the apes
of western Uganda. Both Reynolds (Chapter 22) and
Goldsmith et al. (Chapter 23) relate horror stories and
successes in their respective efforts to safeguard the
Budongo and Bwindi protected areas. Even though these
sites are administered by the same government agencies,
the challenges of uniform management are evident (e.g.,
a 350-m buffer zone at Bwindi, vs. only 12 m at
Budongo). These chapters show that while park boundaries are important for humans, the apes readily move
outside of them as needed, both to their detriment and
their success. The final chapter (24) by Watkins
describes generally benevolent perspectives on Budongo
wildlife and forests by local residents, but these results
are influenced by the recency of the study village’s origin
and its polyglot ethnic composition.
Ultimately, this volume suffers from its uneven structure: representation of sites and taxa is terribly biased,
with most chapters focusing on the Somso chimpanzee
community of Budongo, while other primates (e.g., strep-
and Penny van Oosterzee. New York: Smith-sonian Books.
2007. 256 pp. ISBN 978-0-06-089908-0. $25.95 (cloth).
The first evidence for a new diminutive species of
Homo, Homo floresiensis, was a tiny 12,000-year-old radius recovered in 2001 from Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores. The remarkably complete LB1
skull and skeleton, along with fossils from at least 12
other individuals, paints a picture of a population of
tiny-brained, tool-making hominins whose skulls exhibited clear Homo morphology, but whose skeletons were
more australopith-like. At least momentarily, the Liang
Bua discoveries have refocused the paleoanthropological
spotlight away from Africa and onto Asia, forcing many
to revisit what exactly it means to be human.
A New Human recounts the discovery of H. floresiensis
from the perspective of the lead investigator, Australian
archaeologist Mike Morwood. Along with coauthor Penny
van Oosterzee, Morwood provides colorful descriptions of
his time in Indonesia, utilizing humor whenever possible,
making the book a quick and enjoyable read. One of the
more ironic events recounted by Morwood was when an Indonesian colleague brought the nearly complete cranium
of LB1 to a hospital in Jakarta to be X-rayed, but then had
it scanned by computed tomography by mistake. This mistake turned out to be fortuitous when the original LB1 cranium was later irreparably damaged. With a few exceptions, most of the material relating to the site and the fossils presented in A New Human will be familiar to workers
who have been following the string of publications in Science and Nature. Among his new interpretations, Morwood suggests that the likely ancestor for the Liang Bua
hominins was H. habilis (rather than H. erectus) and that
the source population for the ‘‘hobbits’’ was not Java but
Sulawesi to the north.
sirrhines and mangabeys) and sites (e.g., Mgahinga and
Kalinzu) are given short shrift. However, this book is
very useful for researchers working in Uganda, and it
provides new data and research directions for primatologists interested in chimpanzees, gorillas, and certain
monkeys. It serves as an addendum to existing publications from this region, such as the Wildlife Conservation
Society’s Albertine Rift Technical Reports Series. In the
end, the volume is a snapshot of research conducted in
western Uganda, and the results within will become
more important as these protected areas are either
improved and enhanced, or face further pressure and
Department of Anthropology
Yale University, New Haven, CT
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20808
Published online 6 February 2008 in Wiley InterScience
Interspersed with Morwood’s account of events leading
up to the discovery are interesting and accessible discussions of topics central to understanding the evolutionary
position of the Liang Bua fossils. For example, Morwood
and Oosterzee discuss the geological formation of island
Southeast Asia and its implications for the dispersal of
animals across these islands, pointing out that prior to
840,000 years ago the only large land animals on Flores
were the giant tortoise and pygmy Stegodon. Morwood
further hypothesizes that humans were responsible for a
faunal turnover event that appears to characterize several
islands in Southeast Asia around 840,000 years, although
the evidence is not entirely convincing in all cases. The
chapter ‘‘Islands in the Evolutionary Stream’’ provides
several examples of island dwarfism in other mammals,
as well as possible reasons for their occurrence, such as
lack of predators and more limited resources. Similar circumstances could have relaxed the selective pressures on
the ancestor of H. floresiensis, allowing this species to
become dwarfed over a little less than 100,000 years.
Their brief overview of hominin paleontology questions
the dogma that H. erectus evolved in Africa and migrated
east, repositioning Asia as a major player on the stage of
human evolution. The description of the anatomy of LB1
emphasizes its many primitive postcranial features, such
as its ape-like body proportions, concluding that since
H. floresiensis exhibits traits found in both australopiths
and Homo, it was derived from an H. habilis-like ancestor.
It is unclear to what extent these primitive features could
be examples of convergent evolution as a result of dwarfing, and while the long arms and short legs seen in LB1
are known to be present in the australopiths and early
Homo, very little is known about the postcranial skeleton
of early H. erectus. For these reasons, it may be too soon to
exclude H. erectus from the ancestry of H. floresiensis, and
a description of the early H. erectus skeletal remains from
the Georgian site of Dmanisi may shed light on this quesAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
tion.* Of interest is the observation that LB1 preserves a
unique lower limb configuration consisting of short legs but
very long feet, possibly a novel adaptation to maintain a
long stride length with short legs. Given Morwood’s background in archaeology, there was surprisingly little information and few illustrations dedicated to the stone tools
found with the Liang Bua hominins, and virtually no comparison to stone toolkits from elsewhere in the world.
The book briefly mentions the alternative interpretation of the Liang Bua fossils as microcephalic modern
humans. It draws clear parallels between the way in
which other important hominin discoveries were initially
rejected by the greater scientific community and the way
in which the importance of the Liang Bua finds has been
demeaned by other researchers. The clearest analog was
Richard Lydekker’s description of the Trinil skull cap
from Java (discovered by Eugène Dubois in 1891) as a
‘‘microcephalic idiot.’’ While Dubois was eventually vindicated, and the Trinil calotte is now the type specimen of
H. erectus, we do not yet have the benefit of hindsight to
judge how the H. floresiensis debate will play out.
The discovery of the diminutive hominins on the Indonesian island of Flores created not only a media frenzy but
also a frenzy of allegations, both professional and personal.
The last chapter of the book is devoted to a detailed
recounting of the transfer of the Liang Bua fossils from the
National Research Centre for Archaeology (ARKENAS)
Swedell and Steven R. Leigh. New York: Springer.
2006. 322 pp. ISBN 0-387-30688-9. $125.00 (hardcover).
For a paleoanthropologist interested in the paleobiology and life history of early hominids, baboon research
is of great relevance—obviously, researchers like Washburn and Jolly made this observation long ago. Life
history studies of primates, in general, have become
quite important for reconstructing and modeling the
paleobiology of early hominids as well as other extinct
primates. But among extant primates, baboons are particularly important and useful because papionin fossils
are often recovered alongside those of PlioPleistocene hominids; they occupied similar geographical and ecological environments. In addition, some of
the longest-running primate field studies have focused
on baboon species, yielding a wealth of data on diverse
aspects of baboon biology for comparative study, conservation, and evolutionary modeling relevant to primatology. Undeniably, it is just as important for paleoanthropologists to know a bit about baboon ecology, behavior,
and life history, as it is for them to know about apes.
In paleoanthropology, discussions of life history are
generally limited to information extracted from dental
and skeletal hard tissues concerning the pattern, timing,
and rate of growth and maturational events. Any other
aspect of early hominid life history must, of necessity, be
addressed by (cautious) extrapolation from such hard
data. In this context, Larissa Swedell and Steven R.
Leigh’s edited volume is invaluable for paleoanthropoloAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology
office to Teuku Jacob’s office at Gada Madja University, the
subsequent and well-publicized media war between the
opposing sides, and the tragic damage to key elements of
the H. floresiensis catalog. As when Jon Kalb detailed the
politics of Ethiopian paleoanthropology in Adventures in
the Bone Trade, these events will no doubt horrify those not
already familiar with the story, and further confirm the
field of hominin paleontology as a political minefield.
A New Human provides both an entertaining and educational account of what is surely a major fossil hominin
discovery, while also providing the necessary background
to properly situate these finds in a both a historical and
evolutionary context. Its broad accessibility ensures that
this book will prove a popular addition to both public
and university libraries.
Department of Anthropology
City University of New York
New York, New York
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20809
Published online 6 March 2008 in Wiley InterScience
gists, because the studies provide a detailed perspective
on aspects of life history variation (reproductive behavior, social organization, sex- and age-related differences)
and levels of inquiry (populations, individuals, and the
genome) that are largely inaccessible in the context of
paleoanthropology. In addition, this book will certainly
be welcomed by a diverse assortment of primatologists,
including those interested in reproductive behavior,
adaptive strategies, and life history in general, as well
as by researchers studying mammals within a wider
comparative framework. This book would also be an
appropriate source for a variety of graduate-level biological anthropology courses.
In the introductory first chapter, the editors describe
the book as an exploration of the interactions of reproductive behavior, social organization, and life history,
and their impact on fitness. Their first aim is to
‘‘address ties between reproduction and life history variation in order to understand the evolution of social,
behavioral, genetic and morphological diversity’’ (p. 1).
The structure of the book follows from their observation that behaviors involving mating and investing in
offspring are generally considered separately in the
context of different life phases, as well as from their
goal to examine ‘‘the relations of [such] fitness components to one another at two especially important life
history periods’’ (p. 2).
Thus, the book includes two main sections covering
diverse areas of inquiry: Part I covers reproductive
behavior and mating strategies, and Part II addresses
life history, development, and parenting strategies.
Although some chapters (especially in Part I) focus pri-
marily on individual baboon study populations (chacma,
guinea, hamadryas, or hybrid), the book overall is comparative and illustrates different aspects of baboon behavioral, ecological, and developmental diversity. The
final chapter by Alberts and Altmann is an overview and
synthesis of baboon adaptive flexibility in evolutionary
context. Although this chapter is an effective synopsis, a
concluding chapter by the editors would have better
overcome the typical division between separate life history phases, which the book’s structure maintains to
some degree.
In general, the five chapters in Part I address variability in reproductive strategy in baboons, with
different chapters focusing on female hamadryas
(Swedell and Saunders); female morphological and
reproductive behavioral flexibility in Awash hybrids
(Beehner and Bergman); male hybrids in the Awash
(Bergman); and Guinea baboons of West Africa (GalatLuong et al.). The final chapter in this section (Uddin
et al.) presents a unique perspective on life history
variation at the level of genome evolution, documenting the effect of variation in social organization and
reproductive behavior on the prevalence of baboon
endogenous virus (BaEV) in different baboon populations.
Part II of the book includes six chapters focusing on
life history, development, and parenting in baboons,
including original studies of the chacma populations of
southern Africa and three broader comparative chapters. The topics covered in these chapters include the
following: mortality factors (e.g., predation in adults
and infanticide) affecting female reproductive success
(Cheney et al.); interactions between mothers and offspring that affect growth in chacmas (Johnson); complexities in the relationship between parental investment and offspring independence and survival (Barrett
et al.); a comparative analysis of ontogeny in different
species of Papio (Leigh and Bernstein); ontogenetic trajectories of testicular size in yellow and guinea baboons
(Jolly and Phillips-Conroy); and the previously mentioned overview of environmental diversity and life history flexibility in baboons in an evolutionary perspective (Alberts and Altmann).
Peterson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2006. 740 pp. ISBN
0-395-85405-9. $35.00 (cloth).
There is no doubt that the life of the eminent scientist
and public figure Jane Goodall is of great interest to
both academics and the general public. The appearance
of Jane Goodall’s biography is therefore no surprise nor
is its author. Dale Peterson, a lecturer in English at
Tufts University, is no stranger to Jane Goodall or the
field of primatology. With Goodall, Peterson coauthored
the award-winning popular book Visions of Caliban
(2000). Peterson was also granted access to Goodall’s voluminous correspondence, which he subsequently edited
and annotated in two volumes: Africa in My Blood and
These studies provide a valuable overview of diverse
aspects of primate biology in a life history context,
and the book presents new data and new perspectives
in all areas. For me, the important common themes
illuminated in these chapters involve the variation
and flexibility in adaptive strategies, reproductive
behavior, and morphology—life history in the broadest
sense—among baboons in different geographic, ecological, and social contexts, all of which further extends
our understanding of the diverse levels of impact of
such flexibility. For example, in paleoanthropology it
is typical to consider the life history of a species (e.g.,
Australopithecus africanus), but these chapters are
presented from the different points of view of females
and males, of adults and infants, and of different baboon populations, demonstrating the complexities of
such interactions within and between populations and
In this way, studies such as these help to set the parameters for elucidating how different life history factors
do (or do not) interact at different levels of inquiry. As
noted by various authors in the volume, baboons are a
particularly useful model for life history research
because of their wide geographic distribution, broad
adaptive variation, and large body size. Since they have
been so widely studied, baboons exemplify both broader
aspects of variation and also the more intricate details
that can only be recovered during long-term research of
living populations. Perhaps by following the parameters
set out in books such as this, studies in paleoanthropology can begin to approach new levels of interpretation
concerning the life history of extinct primates.
Department of Archaeology
University of Sheffield
Sheffield, United Kingdom
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20840
Published online 9 May 2008 in Wiley InterScience
Beyond Innocence (both 2001). After accomplishing
this monumental task, which required intimate and
detailed knowledge of Goodall’s life, the author’s decision
to go a step further and write a biography was hardly
Being close to the ‘‘woman who redefined man’’ and
her circle of friends and collaborators, having access to
various primary materials concerning her life, and possessing a solid background in her main field of interest
places Peterson in a commanding position as Jane Goodall’s biographer. However, writing about someone who
one knows and who is still alive also has its pitfalls, as
it might lead to a lack of neutrality. Indeed, one of the
few weaknesses of Peterson’s book is that it contains
some hagiographic elements.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man is a
rather large volume, which is divided into no fewer than
43 chapters. These are grouped in three parts corresponding to three major phases in Goodall’s life and
career: ‘‘The Naturalist,’’ ‘‘The Scientist,’’ and ‘‘The Activist.’’ The first part (covering 1930–1962) deals with
Goodall’s childhood, early interests, and first encounters
with Africa and the Gombe chimpanzees. The second
part (1962–1986) starts with Goodall’s entry into the
scientific community and describes the transformation,
with all its intricacies, of a young, nature-loving Englishwoman into a professional ethologist who would make
major contributions to the field. Criticism of Goodall’s
research is barely mentioned with one exception, that of
Solly Zuckerman. However, Zuckerman’s critique (based
on his own pioneering research, which was by then being
called into question by a number of new studies) of
Goodall’s work of the early 1960s strengthened rather
than undermined her scientific standing. The third part
(1986–2004), though significantly less detailed than the
first two, shows how Goodall’s interests grew and flourished in many diverse areas. Her numerous roles as
scientist, popularizer of science, animal rights activist,
environmentalist, peacemaker, motivational speaker,
spiritual adviser, and others are ably described, with emphasis on her humane and optimistic outlook on life that
underpins all her activities.
Scientists and historians will probably wish to read a
more in-depth analysis of Goodall’s science and the
broader theoretical and ideological context within which
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
it took place. However, one should not forget that this
book aims at the general public and that the author purposely avoids going into too much technical detail. This,
of course, does not mean that the book is of no interest
to experts. Quite the contrary, the biography is extensively researched, superbly written, and provides an
invaluable chronology of a famous scientist’s life. The
book is both rich in detail and, owing to Peterson’s fine
style, a compulsive read.
Because of the significance of Jane Goodall’s achievements, both as scientist and activist, she will continue to
raise interest, and one might predict yet more contributions on her life and career. Peterson’s book, together
with the two volumes of Goodall’s correspondence,
should be seen as just the beginning of the process of
‘‘discovering’’ Jane Goodall. But for the time being, Dale
Peterson is indeed the man who defined the woman who
redefined man.
School of Anatomical Sciences
University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, South Africa
DOI 10.1002/ajpa.20841
Published online 29 April 2008 in Wiley InterScience
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