Stanford, Craig (Britton) 1956-

views updated

STANFORD, Craig (Britton) 1956-

PERSONAL: Born 1956. Education: University of California—Berkeley, Ph.D, 1990.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0032; E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, professor of anthropology, 1992—. Taught at University of Michigan.

AWARDS, HONORS: University of Southern California Raubenheimer Junior Faculty award, 1996; Phi Kappa Phi Recognition award, 2000.

WRITINGS:

The Capped Langur in Bangladesh: Behavioral Ecology and Reproductive Tactics, Karger (New York, NY), 1991.

Chimpanzee and Red Colobus: The Ecology of Predator and Prey, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1999.

Significant Others: The Ape-Human Continuum and the Quest for Human Stature, Basic Books (New York, NY), 2001.

Meat-Eating and Human Evolution, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2001.

SIDELIGHTS: Craig Stanford based his first book, The Capped Langur in Bangladesh: Behavioral Ecology and Reproductive Tactics, on his Ph.D. thesis on the capped langur (Presbytis pileata) of Bangladesh, an animal largely unknown before Stanford's study. The eight chapters cover the langurs' behavior, population fluctuations and feeding patterns. For more than fifteen months Stanford studied five social groups of langurs in the same area for 2,000 hours. In his review for American Anthropologist, Thomas Struhsaker acknowledged the study's importance to understanding langurs specifically and Colobinae in general. But he cited several problems with the book. He felt Stanford should have differentiated between chemically different plant foods, "for example, ripe versus unripe fruit," as did many publications. He also called Stanford's citation of the literature inaccurate: "This becomes especially important when Stanford attempts to compare his results with other studies and develop a synthesis." In one instance, according to Struhsaker, Stanford says no published information on leadership behavior in arboreal forest monkeys exists; he later cites three works that have that information. Stanford followed this book with a study of primates, Chimpanzee and Red Colobus: The Ecology of Predator and Prey.

In The Hunting Apes: Meat Eating and the Origins of Human Behavior, Stanford argues that hunting large animals shaped human social behavior and intelligence. Taking studies on fossil records and contemporary hunters, and his own on chimpanzees, he addresses the "Man the Hunter" model from the 1960s which field research and feminist anthropology in the 1970s refuted. Stanford synthesizes some of the new research to reaffirm the "Man the Hunter" idea. Meat sharing, he claims, may represent "the essential recipe for the expansion of the human brain." Males, he adds, also exchange food for mating opportunities. He concludes that "the ability to make use of meat for nutritional purposes is facilitated in a social primate by a relatively high degree of intelligence, because of the complexities of sharing the meat of other animals." The book is written for general readers.

According to Deborah L. Manzolillo in the Times Literary Supplement, Stanford's book is too comprehensive, its arguments flawed. Manzolillo found Stanford's explanation of the hunting techniques of chimpanzee communities "puzzling" because he doesn't explain how female chimpanzees, who rarely hunt, transport food. She wrote, "Individually, most of the examples Stanford gives are based in fact, and lead to sensible arguments. But fitting them together is problematic. Perhaps he would have been more successful if he had pared down the scope of his book, while at the same time pursing some of his arguments more fully and providing more detail to back them up." A Publishers Weekly critic, on the other hand, found the book's arguments suitable for general readers: "Stanford's ideas, while controversial, are amply documented by behavioral studies of non-human primates, anthropological studies of a number of human societies and archeological studies of early and pre-humans."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Anthropologist, December, 1992.

American Journal of Human Biology, May-June, 2002, Curtis W. Marean, review of Meat-Eating and Human Evolution, p. 411.

Booklist, June 1, 2001, Ray Olson, review of Significant Others: The Ape-Human Continuum and the Quest for Human Stature, p. 1807.

Choice, December, 2001, M. S. Grace, review of Significant Others, p. 712; February, 2002, M. J. O'Brien, review of Meat-Eating and Human Evolution, p. 1086.

Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2001, Douglas Foster, review of Significant Others, p. R-5.

Psychology Today, November-December, 2001, review of Significant Others, p. 77.

Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1999.

Times Literary Supplement, May 7, 1999.*

About this article

Stanford, Craig (Britton) 1956-

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article