From Radcliffe-Brown to sociobiology: Some aspects of the rise of primatology within physical anthropology

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Abstract

The formation of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists some 50 years ago marked the official recognition of physical anthropology as a legitimate subfield of anthropology. Since then, with the growth of individual and institutional participation in the Association, and with the development of new research paradigms, a number of subspecializations have come to be accepted within the field. Perhaps none of these specializations, however, has grown as rapidly, or spectacularly, as has the subfield of primatology. This article details some of the rise of primatology as an accepted subdiscipline of physical anthropology and discusses the theoretical orientations which guided the first anthropological forays into the study of nonhuman primates.

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