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The Evolution of Intelligence in Primates and Humans

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Monkeys and apes have comparatively large brains, rely on group life for their ecological success, display a wide variety of social and breeding structures, and exhibit social behaviors that are familiar to humans. Thus these anthropoid primates are an important lens through which to study the evolution of intelligence and complex social behavior. Through lectures, films, readings, and discussion, Anthropology 2390 will explore social intelligence in the Primates. After overviewing behavioral diversity across the order, we will examine in closer detail the social behavior of the African apes, our closest surviving primate relatives. We will then consider how the social sophistication of modern apes can be used to understand the evolution of uniquely large brains and unparalleled social complexity in humans.

Students enroll in ANTHR 2390.

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