Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Altmann, Stuart A.

US zoologist and primatologist. S. A. Altmann took a master’s degree with UCLA bird ecologist George A. Bartholomew and a Ph.D. in behavioral ecology with E. O. Wilson at Harvard, and did field research in the Cayo Santiago rhesus populations, then conducted a census of the Barro Colorado howler populations; both works had a communications-oriented approach. He and his wife Jeanne began a field collaboration in the 1950s that included one of the longest ongoing field studies of baboons at Amboseli National Park, Kenya. S. A. Altmann was instrumental in introducing American and European researchers to the work of Japanese primatologists (see potato-washing behavior and ricewashing behavior), and arranged for the translation of several papers that were published in western journals. The result of this collaboration was Japanese Monkeys (1965), co-edited with K. Imanishi. S. A. Altmann was one of the early promoters of mathematical models of behavior and ecology, and was active into the twenty-first century at his long-term site in Kenya, where he studied foraging behavior.

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