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Emerging Entanglements: A Multispecies Ethnoprimatological Exploration of Human-Monkey Coexistence in Saint Kitts

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posted on 2024-05-08, 16:58 authored by Sana Tajoddin Saiyed
This dissertation explored human and African green monkey (Chlorocebus sabeus) entanglements in the island of Saint Kitts. It asked: how do emerging multispecies assemblages shift and shape the social lives of humans and primates? I focused on a neighborhood, Calypso Bay, where residents and workers were in frequent contact with a troop of green monkeys to explore how humans and monkeys shaped each other’s lives. To do so, I combined socioecological, political ecology, and multispecies theories. This combination of frameworks and associated methodologies allowed for an examination of human-monkey entanglements from the perspectives of both humans and monkeys. I used ethology, cortisol measurements, and ethnography to answer: (1) How are green monkeys behaviorally and physiologically responding to their proximity to humans? And (2) How do sociocultural and political factors shape how people perceive the monkeys they interact with? Results demonstrated that some behaviors, like play or grooming, were more likely to occur in areas of the neighborhood depending on the area’s likelihood of human interaction. Behaviors related to aggression or dominance were not associated with spatial area and, by proxy, likelihood of human interaction. Cortisol assessments revealed a positive relationship between likelihood of human interaction and cortisol levels. This suggests there may be aspects of life with humans that activate the stress response. Results also demonstrated that sociocultural and political dimensions differentially shaped how residents and workers of Calypso Bay perceived monkeys and their behaviors. Ethnographic analyses of monkey behaviors revealed that the troop was learning how to navigate these different human social landscapes. Social navigation is related to primate psychosocial stress, so this navigation may be an underlying cause of higher cortisol levels in troops that live near humans. These results have important implications for human-primate interfaces globally, as new human-primate entanglements are emerging at a rapid rate.

History

Date Created

2024-04-14

Date Modified

2024-05-08

Defense Date

2024-03-28

CIP Code

  • 45.0201

Research Director(s)

Lee Gettler

Committee Members

Catherine Bolten|Elizabeth Archie|Kerry Dore|Agustin Fuentes

Degree

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Level

  • Doctoral Dissertation

Language

  • English

Library Record

006584400

OCLC Number

1432838420

Publisher

University of Notre Dame

Program Name

  • Anthropology

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