Anthropology Social Groups

So one semester (Spring 2014), I took the course Physical Anthropology. We went over different concepts including human genetics, the human skeleton, human origins, and non-human primates. I want to focus on non-human primates, including apes and different types of monkeys. There is a reason why these non-human primates are in the same subject as (human) physical anthropology. Not just because humans are also considered primates and may have evolved from the same origins as monkeys and apes, but humans and these other primates have even the same social life. And this is where my theory begins.

So you may know that monkeys and apes are usually found in groups. Why? Because they are social beings just as humans are. That’s pretty obvious right? But let me go in a little deeper. Monkeys/apes are in groups forming bonds with each other to remain in the group and to gain access to resources like food, water, and even mating partners. Think about it, even for humans, we may already have resources of food and water just by going to the convenient store, but a few steps above that, based on the humanistic psychologist, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we also need the feeling of belonging. This means we yearn for the need of having close friendships, family, and spouse. Before this need, we must fulfill the physiological needs for survival: foods, water, sleep, etc. and safety needs such as shelter. I am sure many of you all that are reading this, already have fulfilled the physiological and safety needs. So our need for social belongings also is a necessity for other primates like monkeys/apes in order for our survival and well-being.

Another perspective into why human and non-human primates desire to be in groups is for protection against predators. We want to be in groups because the more people, the more you have protection and people to represent you in case of an attack. If a person is a loner, they may not have anyone to represent or protect them against harm. If they had others with them, when a predator arrives, there are others to protect them and each other. Being alone is vulnerability to predators and to people who are against you in some manner; this could be included in politics, college Greek life, companies, etc. That is why organizations like these involve a party or a group of like-minded people. Having a group that represents what we stand for and is able to fight back to any predator. We as human beings yearn and have a need for a group to represent us so we as individuals do not become the weakest link.


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