Social minds and social selves: Redefining the human–alloprimate interface

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Social and ecological niche construction and hyper-sociality are central aspects of our primate heritage. Social complexity and modern evolutionary theory are core elements in a comprehensive understanding of the interface between humans and alloprimates (the other primates aside from humans). This approach is epitomized by the emerging field of ethnoprimatology: the theoretically and methodologically interdisciplinary study of the multifarious interactions and interfaces between humans and other primates (Fuentes, 2012a). Our perspectives on current relationships and the potential for conviviality with the apes (and many other species), are constrained when they rely only on biological/phylogenetic similarity arguments and simplistic evolutionary understandings, or when they ignore the histories and everyday patterns of the human-alloprimate interface. We have more, and less, in common with apes than many of us think. This matters in talking, and thinking, about our relationships with other primates. As an anthropologist who studies human and other primates, and who is centered in a modern evolutionary approach, I am forced to consider the ways in which we (humans) think about, interact with, and coexist with other animals. I have lived among humans and other primates in Asia, North Africa, and even the Southern tip of Europe. I have observed the myriad ways in which humans look at, think about, consume, and cohabitate with other animals across the planet. These experiences in various cultures and ecologies have convinced me that the interface between humans and other forms of life is neither uniform, nor simple. I’ve published elsewhere (Fuentes, 2006) that a core aspect of the overlap between humans and animals is in the shared aspects of personhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Politics of Species
Subtitle of host publicationReshaping our Relationships with Other Animals
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781139506755
ISBN (Print)9781107032606
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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