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Durham University

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Dore, Kerry M., Radford, Lucy, Alexander, Sherrie & Waters, Siân (2018). Ethnographic Approaches in Primatology. Folia Primatologica 89(1): 5-12.

Author(s) from Durham


The shared evolutionary histories and anatomical similarities between humans and non-human primates create dynamic interconnections between these alloprimates. In this foreword to Folia Primatologica's special issue on “Ethnographic Approaches in Primatology,” we review the ethnographic method and existing literature at the intersection of primatology and ethnography. We summarize, compare and contrast the 5 contributions to this special issue to highlight why the human-non-human primate interface is a compelling area to investigate via ethnographic approaches and to encourage increased incorporation of ethnography into the discipline of primatology. Ethnography is a valuable and increasingly popular tool with its use no longer limited to anthropological practitioners investigating traditional, non-Western peoples. Scholars from many disciplines now use ethnographic methods to investigate all members of our globalised world, including non-humans. As our closest living relatives, non-human primates (hereafter “primates”) are compelling subjects and thus appear in a range of contexts within ethnographic investigations. The goal of this special issue is to highlight the trajectory of research at the intersection of primatology and ethnography and to illustrate the importance of ethnographic methods for the advancement of primatology as a discipline.