Review Of "Primates Of The World" By R. Preston-Mafham And K. Preston-Mafham

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The Preston-Mafhams' introduction to the primates lies somewhere between an animal-life encyclopedia and a textbook. Short chapters on anatomy, taxonomy, ecology, and behavior are illustrated with superb photographs. The writing is aimed at a popular audience and is nontechnical at the adult or senior high school level. (Some references to British usage and vocabulary will be lost on readers on this side of the Atlantic.) Treatment of all topics is at the surface and without references to published work; thus, it is of little use as a reference for students beyond early high school. Descriptions of behavior are anthropomorphic and give little appreciation of the evolutionary significance of behaviors (or anatomy). The authors fail to indicate the major areas of controversy, especially in terms of interpretation of the lower primates' relation to human beings. The production of the book is very good with quality printing of the excellent photographs. The very small type will be difficult for mature readers.


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