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Free «Anthropology» Essay Sample

The article “Love in the Time of Monkeys” by Eduardo Fernandez-Duque and Benjamin Finkel deals with the issue of monogamy as a part of human social organization. The authors attempt to research the origins of monogamy and its evolution from the time of the remote ancestors of modern humans on the basis of mating behavior of monkeys. Establishing long-term pairs is one of the features that make humans largely different from other mammals. This paper is aimed at analyzing controversial aspects of the article and showing that the work is highly effective in proving the uniqueness of human nature.

The article contains several contradictory aspects. One of them is the research methodology. The authors claim to be conducting anthropological research, but they rarely mention humans, society, and social behavior. Their study is centered on owl monkeys. This might seem a bit contradictory to the thesis. However, when describing the animals, Eduardo Fernandez-Duque often refers to his own personal experience, mentions some facts about his family life, and so on. This structure of the paper allows the reader to draw parallels between humans and owl monkeys and see obvious similarities in social behavior of these two species, specifically, pair mating, long-term monogamy, biparental care for the young, distinctions in relatedness among group members.

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Another point that can raise questions in the reader’s mind is the reason for owl monkeys’ monogamy. The authors do not give a clear explanation why this species of primates has such a complicated social organization and what makes it become similar to humans. However, the researchers suggest several theories concerning this problem. The food distribution theory seems to be rather credible. Unequal distribution of food and frequent food shortages at the time of lulls make the monkeys migrate to the areas where nourishment is easier to find. For this reason, males and females often inhabit the areas that are rather far from each other. This is why creating long-term pairs seems to be more relevant and effective for the survival of the species. The pair of animals can raise their young together and defend their territory from other monkeys and predators. Moreover, both animals in the pair receive stable access to food. Thus, it can be assumed that mating behavior of humans historically was formed by similar reasons as that of owl monkeys. A pair was more likely to survive, reproduce, and raise healthy offspring.


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The third disputable aspect of the article is the influence of monogamy on demographic situation. On the one hand, mating with only one partner gives less chance to produce multiple offspring than having several partners. On the other hand, as the research has shown, owl monkeys seem to be more prolific than primate species that do not have social and genetic monogamy. The reason for this could possibly be the peculiarities of owl monkeys’ food habits and habitat. Biparental care enables the offspring to have stable supply of nourishment and protection from invaders into their territory. Moreover, in pair bonding, the male has a better opportunity to replicate his genes, and the female can quicker recover from pregnancy. Thus, the species with dominant pair mating often have more favorable demographic situations than those with multiple partner bonds.

The article is highly effective. The first reason for this is the authors’ style. The paper is easy to understand. References to the author’s personal experience make the paper sound less formal and facilitate the perception of the information. The vocabulary is rather simple, and the reader does not have difficulties with unfamiliar terms. Confidential tone of the author also contributes to the better understanding of the research. The author speaks directly to the readers and shares his findings with them. The feeling of intimacy with the author makes the readers more open to the information presented in the paper. The evidence provided in the research also makes the paper authoritative . The author provides credible data, including statistics. This makes the study very informative.

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Judging from the above-mentioned, it is possible to conclude that monogamy is an indicator of a rather complicated social organization and relatively high level of development of an animal species. Owl monkeys display the basic form of monogamy that is practiced in order to facilitate survival and provide favorable conditions for raising the offspring. Human monogamy is likely to have originated from a social structure that was very similar to that of these monkeys. However, in the course of time, it evolved from purely social and genetic phenomenon into emotive one. This means that modern monogamy is based on love and emotional attraction.

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