Scientific experimentation & animal welfare.

This essay argues that the only way scientific experimentation could be successful is to experiment on an ape in their natural habitat or environment, just like how the renowned primatologist Diane Fossey studied gorillas in their natural habitat.

It does seem that various primate species manifest different levels of unpredictability or inconsistency in social behavior, and hence have different abilities to change their social behavior in reaction to outside forces or demands (Savage-Rumbaugh et al. 8). That this can influence the perspective or interpretation of the researcher regarding how constant or species-specific primate social group is can be explained by the following divergent statements from Rowell and Kummer (Fedigan 46):

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It is important that we recognize at an early stage in the accumulation of comparative studies of social organization that there may be no such thing as a normal social structure for a given species, and that a description of social organization is only useful if accompanied by a description of the environment in which it occurs—and further, that we are still only guessing about which features of the environment will be essential in such a description.

On the other hand, the evidence of hamadryas baboons suggests that the generic potential of some nonhuman species may indeed be restricted to one type of society which environmental change would hardly alter.

Although the investigations of Rowell of common baboons’ social organizations in various different settings, as well as natural and unnatural (captive) environments, discover these animals to be fairly flexible in social behavior, the research of Kummer of hamadryas baboons’ social organizations, also in various natural and unnatural environments, discovered those in their natural habitats to be quite fixed in social patterns (Fedigan 46-47).

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