Abstract # 34:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 18, 2015 03:00 PM-05:10 PM: (Cascade H) Symposium


A. R. Eller and F. J. White
University of Oregon, Department of Anthropology, Eugene, Oregon 97403, USA

Our goal in this symposium is to utilize both captive and wild primatological data to investigate evolutionary hypotheses. Evolutionary biology has recently renewed focus on development and organismal-level studies of the phenotype. The phenotype includes the behavior and bodies of an organism from conception through adulthood, and in primates also includes social realities as extended phenotypes. West-Eberhard (2003) argues it is the organism that must actually survive the local environment in order to reproduce, and therefore the phenotype is the most evolutionarily relevant unit of study. Primatology is ripe for such perspectives, as the field has always been largely phenotype focused. Studies presented here focus on behaviors that inform morphology, morphology that informs behavior, or both. We include current research on bonobo and lemur sociality, comparative morphology, comparative ontogenies, and ecologically driven phenotypic patterns in macaques and in gorillas. Such research on development, social complexities, and variation in phenotypic traits due to environmental pressures are particularly informative for testing evolutionary hypotheses. Integrated datasets on behavior, bones, and development allow us to stay relevant to fossil evidence, while also contributing valuable data on modern species. Opportunities to relate datasets and methods between sub-disciplines within primatology are exceedingly valuable, because comparative phenotypic research is necessary for advancing knowledge in primate, and human, evolution generally. References West-Eberhard, M. J. 2003. Developmental Plasticity and Evolution. Oxford University Press.