Proximate Mechanisms of Kin Recogniton in Non-human Primates

Aislinn Kelly

MA Thesis 2003

Casuality, in the realm of adaptations, is an ambiguous area; explanations that seem to be competing are often equally merited. Sherman (1987) indicates that these seemingly opposing explanations are often addressing different levels of analysis and may not in fact be competing. Adaptations can have non-competing proximate and ultimate causes. Levels of selection were addressed by Tinbergen (1963), who differentiated between proximate explanations, which address ontogeny and mechanistic functions and answer "how" questions, and ulitmate explantations, which address evolutionary causes and answer "why" questions. This paper will focus on proximate mechanisms of kin recognition, but the ultimate explanation for the evolution of kin recognition must first be breifly addressed. The ultimate necessity for kin recognition becomes evident when considering inbreeding depression and Hamilton's theory of inclusive fitness. Kin recognition for inbreeding avoidance