A classification system for describing anthropogenic influence on nonhuman primate populations

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Many nonhuman primates live in proximity to humans, and all studied primate populations are influenced in some ways by human interaction. While the effects of human interference on primate behavior and ecology are an important area of research in contemporary primatology, to date there is no systematic way to report the types or level of anthropogenic influence for a primate study population. In this paper, I introduce a diagnostic classification system that will allow primate field researchers to clearly and consistently report anthropogenic conditions at their study sites. This system provides a way to identify population conditions for four major variables: landscape, human-nonhuman primate interface, diet, and predation risk. The incredible diversity of the Order Primates necessitates a descriptive system that is applicable across a wide range of habitat types, social groupings, and ecological roles, so the proposed classification system has been specifically designed to avoid quantitative ranking. Instead, the system is intended to provide a standardized way to report a wealth of population and site information in a simple format. This will allow for meta-analysis of specific conditions across study sites, leading to a greater understanding of the effects of different forms of anthropogenic influence on primate behavior and ecology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-726
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number7
Early online date24 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • anthropogenic influence
  • behavioral plasticity
  • ecological plasticity
  • ecological plasticity


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