Abstract # 2:

Scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, 2004 08:30 AM-09:30 AM: (Memorial Union Theatre) Keynote Address

The adaptive value of social bonds

J. Silk
University of California, Los Angeles, Dept. of Anthropology, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
     Sociality is a key adaptation of the primate order, and primatologists have devoted considerable effort to studying the nature and function of sociality in primates over the last 25 years. We have made great progress in documenting the diversity of social organization and forms of social behavior across the primate order. Theoretical models linking features of the environment, such as the presence of predators and the nature of resource competition, to social organization have become valuable tools in understanding this diversity. We have also made progress in identifying the evolutionary forces that shape the patterning of interactions within social groups. All of this work is predicated on the assumption that variation in the quality, quantity, and complexity of social bonds have adaptive consequences for individuals. Recently, we have begun to accumulate empirical evidence that supports this assumption. These data stimulate new questions, prompt us to develop new methods, and reinforce our confidence that it is profitable to search for connections between the form and function of behavior in the field.