Primate Social Systems by Robin Ian MacDonald Dunbar
  

Synopsis

Primate Social Systems by Robin Ian MacDonald Dunbar

This book grew from small beginnings as I began to find unexpected patterns emerging from the data in the literature. The more I thought about the way in which primate social systems worked, the more interesting things turned out to be. I am conscious that, at times, this has introduced a certain amount of complexity into the text. I make no apologies for that: what we are dealing with is a complex subject, the product of evolutionary forces interacting with very sophisticated minds. None the less, I have done my best to explain every- thing as clearly as I can in order to make the book accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I have laid a heavy emphasis in this book on the use of simple graphical and mathematical models. Their sophistication, however, is not great and does not assume more than a knowledge of elementary probability theory. Since their role will inevitably be misunderstood, I take this opportunity to stress that their function is essentially heuristic rather than explanatory: they are designed to focus our attention on the key issues so as to point out the directions for further research. A model is only as good as the questions it prompts us to ask. For those whose natural inclination is to dismiss modelling out of hand, I can only point to the precision that their use can offer us in terms of hypothesis-testing.

About the Author

Other Formats

Book Info

Format

Hardback
374 pages

Author

Robin Ian MacDonald Dunbar
More books by Robin Ian MacDonald Dunbar

Publisher

Publication date

31st December 1987

ISBN

9780709908876


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