Comparative Behaviour

A point raised in Matt Ridleys book ‘ The Origins of Virtue’ on the study of primates to find out more about humans.  We are genetically close relatives, but this does not mean that we should assume that:

a) “primatologists are somehow claiming that human beings are the same as monkeys in every respect and detail”  Each species of primate has a unique social system, though there are commonalities between them, and behave in different, though distinctively primate-like, ways

or b) primates are somehow more primative versions of humans socially.  Humans share a common ancestor with monkeys, rather than being directly descended from the monkeys we study today.

Humans are neither unique among species, through virtue of being human, neither are we just like our primate relatives.

This is just as pertinent for comparisons between other domestic animals compared with their closest wild relatives, including the domestic dog and grey wolf!

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Dog training and behaviour in Cambridgeshire
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