Introduction to the Special Section: "The Effects of Bonds Between Human and Nonhuman Primates on Primatological Research and Practice"
American journal of primatology 2011 Mar; 73(3): 211-3
This commentary introduces this special section on "the Effects of Bonds Between Human and Nonhuman Primates on Primatological Research and Practice." The aim is to explore the different causes and consequences of bonding experiences between observers and observed in different primatological contexts. In the first contribution, Vitale asks what are the possible consequences of such bonding in behavioral primatology. Examples of beneficial consequences of this kind of relationship come fromstudies on cognitive abilities of great apes. Furthermore, an empathic attitude with the experimental animals leads to better care and attention toward individual welfare needs. Coleman discusses the particular case of nonhuman primates housed in research laboratories. Care-giving practices arediscussed in relation to scientific, ethical and emotional issues. Morimura et al. present the case of the first Japanese sanctuary for retiring chimpanzees from research where, in order to facilitate the social living of re-located chimpanzees, face-to-face interactions between caregivers and chimpanzees areessential. Asquith discusses the role of an thropomorphism, and proposes that this attitude can help to better understand the lives of primates, in more contextualized scenarios. In relation to this view, sheemphasizes how the term "primate culture" accords with some definition of the term "human culture." Fuentes, in his article asks whether national, class and ethnic characteristics can influence bonding between human and nonhuman primates, and calls for focused quantitative studies. Finally, Rose calls for the application of the concept of biosynergy, explained as promoting the formation of healthy and sustainable bonding relationships among living creatures. One of the most important aspects emerging from these papers is the need to better understand whether the issue of bonding in primatological studiescan be generalized to other areas of research such as conservation, behavior, captive care, or whether each of these disciplines needs to develop their own understanding of the effects of bonding in "producing science."
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