Abstract # 125:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 01:30 PM-02:30 PM: (Mayfair Room) Featured Speaker


J. P. Capitanio1,2
1Univ. of California, Dept. of Psychology, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center
     Adaptation is a fundamental issue in biology. Broadly construed, adaptation refers to the fit between the organism and its environment, abiotic, biotic, and especially conspecific. What the organism brings to any situation is a complex constellation of dispositions toward, knowledge of, and assumptions about its situation. Within a species, however, individuals differ among themselves in these (and other) processes. These differences, considered by many to be unimportant or a nuisance, are critically important to the process of evolution. Nonhuman primates are known for their behavioral, cognitive, and social flexibility and complexity, and like all organisms, primates face challenges in adaptation regardless of whether they live in captive environments or in the wild. Often, there are multiple ways to adapt to a given challenge, and sometimes not all animals are successful. It is my thesis that knowledge and understanding of some of the major dimensions along which individuals differ can be useful in a number of areas of basic primatology. These include understanding speciation, characterizing species differences, improving the survival and welfare of primates in both captive and natural habitats, explaining variation in biomedical data, and facilitating reintroduction efforts.