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Manipulative Monkeys: The Capuchins of Lomas Barbudal 1St Edition Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674026643
ISBN-10: 0674026640
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Capuchins are no regular monkeys. They have huge brains, and seem about as smart and 'cultured' as any ape. I know of no better guides to their social life than Susan Perry and Joe Manson, who have devoted their lives to studying these often overlooked creatures in the jungles of Costa Rica. The result is an account that is bound to fascinate and surprise, because the behavior of wild capuchins exceeds our wildest imagination.
--Frans de Waal, author of Our Inner Ape

Susan Perry and Joseph H. Manson‘s book reveals capuchins as having social lives as rich and as complex as those...of humans...Perry‘s book, with her husband and research partner, is far more than just stories about monkeys’ social lives. It offers fascinating biology from Costa Rica’s tropical forests, including the small, somewhat ugly, Machiavellian capuchin monkeys. They act as the focus for a discourse that ranges over “big questions”: why evolve large brains and intelligence; how do youngsters learn group-typical behavior; why does lethal aggression occur? These questions are embedded in the human drama of fieldwork; snakes, bugs of all kinds, plants with deadly toxicity, ill-fated collaborations, deep friendships and human poachers...We desperately need such studies to be sustained. Let’s hope this fascinating book will go some way towards achieving this aim.
--Phyllis C. Lee (Times Higher Education Supplement 2008-06-12)

About the Author

Susan Perry is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Joseph H. Manson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1St Edition edition (February 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674026640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674026643
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #949,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book gives you and amazing and in depth look into the lives of these highly social, complex monkeys. Primatology has often been dominated by studies on apes, but the Lomas Barbudal project has brought us leaps closer to understanding primate behavior by dedicating decades of intense research to this species of new world monkey. Reading about some of the daily family, political, and terretorial dramas of the white-faced capuchins, you cannot help but see just how similar they are to us. These are some remarkable and intelligent capuchins just bursting with personality. They are problem-solvers, drama queens, pranksters, lovers and fighters. I highly recommend this book to any primatologist or person interested in social behavior!!! This book has some wonderful photos and gives you glimpses into what it is like to be a primatologist in the field. It is a great resource!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Readers will likely agree with Susan Perry that capuchins are the most intelligent and fascinating of the New World monkeys. This fine book, in the tradition of Jane Goodall's "In the Shadow of Man" (1971), mixes rich descriptions of the personal lives of primates (in Goodall's case, chimpanzees) and of the primatologists. Perry and her husband, Joe Manson, and their coworkers, during nearly two decades of on-going study at a site in Costa Rica, rise at 3 AM to follow the capuchins, machete-cutting through the entangling forest, suffering ticks, wasps, snakes, fungal infections, frequent hospital visits, and maniac drivers when back on the road. For my own brief "study" of capuchins, I sat at a comfortable restaurant and bar on the beach near Manuel Antonio National Park, cold drink in hand, watching these little animals in the surrounding trees, but that hardly counts as primatology.
Like Goodall and subsequent primatologists whom she inspired, Perry offers anthropocentric interpretations of her subjects' behaviors, less objective that one would find in a research journal but certainly permissible in this accessible account, which is further enlivened by the author's wit and her obvious love for the arduous work. I suspect that many young readers will contact Susan Perry about signing on for a year as research assistant. I know one who has already.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one of the best to understand what it takes to be a field biologist--an often overlooked detail. But most importantly, I found the topic to be akin to a novel, though it is clearly simply the reduction of many years of hard work into a few hours' worth of reading. Each monkey has a personality that the authors were able to capture and present in such a pleasant way that one could feel attached to some monkeys and clearly dislike the personalities of others. What captured me the most, and what most literature does not talk about, is that monkeys' social structure is a baseline that several modern human social structures are built upon. Their hierarchical nature is akin to the type of fiefdoms that can be found today in many developing nations (and in some extremely rich and famous nations of the world that need not be mentioned in specific). Though the authors do not suggest that monkeys are able to foresee and be goal-oriented, as these are thought to be exclusively human traits, I argue that some of the monkey behaviors portrayed in this book provide a hint otherwise. As a Neuroeconomist, I enjoy learning about the decision-making processes of non-human primates and other non-human animals. This book is exemplary in its deliverance and is very entertaining to read. I highly recommend it at all levels.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well writen and interesting. Good insight into ecololgical/ethological research.
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