Abstracts of the ESS Moscow Annual Meeting 1998

Abstracts of Papers Presented at the Annual Meeting of the European Sociobiological Society (ESS), Russian State University of the Humanities, Moscow, May 31-June 3, 1998

(Great Britain)


The roots of group feeling and group identity have to be looked for at very basic levels in evolved human psychology and perhaps even further back in patterns of group behaviour in animals. The nation state has shown astonishing power to survive universalist ideologies and also to resist the strong forces working towards globalization of the world economy and of world culture. In the same way as once it was said that 'prebyter is old priest writ large' one might say that 'nation is group writ large'. There are common elements between a society and Society but the forces promoting or constituting the unity of the national group may differ significantly from those supporting the unity, the identity, of the smaller group. What seems to be most noticeable in the national group, in the present revival of nationalism, is the importance of language as the foundation of nation identity. If language, and languages, are essentially biological and not simply cultural phenomena, then it may be possible to understand more fully how the national idea retains its force, and indeed to start to think of the nation in its turn as an evolutionary grouping. The work of Cavalli-Sforza and his associates at Stanford on the correlations between world linguistic and genetic distributions seems relevant.

Konstantin BANNIKOV
(Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, Russia)


Under the notion of 'extreme groups' I mean the groups which were shaped as social structure naturally but under the pressure of the outside overwhelming conditions. The examples of such phenomenon are soldiery or prisoner societies with their inner i.e. non official relationship.
This relationship is the mainstream of social structuralization in all kind of extreme groups and appear in archaic form of one, especially a rituals, signs and symbols forming as means to fix up dominant connections (social ties). Their behaviour and signification correspond with early human's and even animal's forms. Several points of one are re-actualized on such level of social relation: the demonstrative aggression; physiological acts (sexual and homosexual function, deification, etc.).
Social structure presents harsh three-level hierarchy that is represented by symbols and behavioural style. Symbols are spread through all side of life, but may be clean districted between three spheres: food, clothes and living space. Each sphere is marked by complex of special signs in corresponding with a personal quality of the members.
Extreme groups are quite mobile. The transition of the members from one level to other is marked by special rites, which are based on initiation idea. This idea is principal for all primitive society and embodied in those rites of extreme groups with ancient feature of the acts and symbols under original mind of one.
To conclude I propose that compressing many individuals who were educated and socialized at the different ethnic, national and social environment produce 'vacuum of culture' as the only mental condition of such groups. This situation become the point of departure for further structuralization of the social forms of this groups as well as common awareness. If there is the necessity to be together, but there are no any common tradition, normative and value system, a new social forms will be shape on the archaic unconscious and pre-human base.

(Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, The Norwegian College of Veterinary Medicine, Oslo, Norway)


Humans and most other animals possess a predatory instinct which enables the individual to 'switch off pity' (Eibl-Eibesfeldt) or concern for the target animal during hunting/feeding. The brain center for this predatory aggression is located medially in the hypothalamus, apart from the other forms of aggression, which are usually labelled affective aggression. Predatory aggression is characterized by a curious lack of emotion, and might rather be called predatory non-emotionality, (Borresen, 1996, 1996).
In an evolutionary perspective, predatory non-emotionality has developed for inter-species encounters - i.e. between 'us' and 'the others' - while affective aggression, together with the various positive social emotions, were reserved for intra-species encounters - i.e. among 'ourselves'. Thus the hypothalamic seal for predatory non-emotionality can be seen as a 'main switch' turning social emotions ON or OFF.
The taming of pets and domestic animals exploits the ability - in humans as well as in the animal concerned - to transcend the species barrier and include members of other species among 'us'. Thus social emotions can be ON towards individuals of a potential prey species. Conversely, humans, chimpanzees and other social animals sometimes direct predatory aggression against their own kids and may kill members of their own species in an emotion OFF mode.
Thus, rituals may have developed to act as instinct releasers (Tinbergen) helping to move the main switch into a social emotions ON mode in potentially dangerous encounters.

(Department of Archeobiology and Anthropology, Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria)


Definition of Paleo-(lithic-) socialization as Meta-meme-culture characterizes in a sociobiology of 'New age' the French revolution's liberté, egalité, fraternité, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism as paleo-socialization turns within a Co-evolution.
a) In psycho-therapy a Meta-meme culture loss biologically resulted in Meme-cults of male elite dominance since Neo-(lithic-) patho-socialization, defined as traumatic psycho-social regression to eliminative problem solving by non-human primate agonic ranking (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, M. J. Paleopathology, 7,2,1995). Culture defined by the Meta-meme-ritual (initiation-rite, etc.) permits teleonomic change of the (neuronal memory based) Meme-ritual of non human primate cult (from non-self organized programs into self-organized, integrated programs). Reproductive success from selective paleo-advantage of Meta-ritual is reflected in neotenous morphology, brain expansion, Homo-specific hagio-sophic ranking and ritualized hagio-sophic rank smile (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, IEC, 1997). b) In neuro-chemistry the Meta-ritual is characterized by a threefold increase of serotonin (5-HT) metabolism (Bujatti, M., Riederer,P., J. Neural Transm., 1976, 39, 257) if lost compensated by social use of alcohol and addicting drugs.
c) In neuro-ethology it is characterized by pegnio-kolymbetic (pk-) ethology (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, 13th ISHE-Conference-Abstracts, 1996, 36). In Greek paignyon comes from pais, child and means toy, while kolymbao means to give i.e. with a toy in playful behaviour. In pk-ethology our critical evolutionary advantage of creativity as mammalian play-plasticity is stabilized beyond puberty (testosterone effects) even in emergency (stress-cortisol effects) by non-aquatic vertebrate diving response release (relaxing serotonin effect on total metabolism).
d) In neuro-linguistics the Meta-ritual is characterized by non-aquatic diving response release via Pawlovian IRM conditioning by the diving-cycle-respiration-control-phonemes (ha-g-n-i). It provides, as first logic syntactic idiolog-symbol, the Meta-meme for proto-language, (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, DGS, 1987; two-letter syllables, Kekoni, 1997; glottalic, Gamkrelidze, Ivanow, 1984). T4 Meta-meme is defined as logic-syntactic meme-Tools for inborn pk-behaviour Teleonomy with self-organized metabolic Transition as experienced Transcendence. Iteration of pk-ethology structures the memes of hominine (material of language) cults into Meta-memes of Homo-culture. Boolean-logic of negation comes from respiratory halt in Meta-meme production in diving response derived syntactics of religious rites (Transcendence) with body derived semantics of language (hagni for inner sun, fire) and teleonomic syntactic creative intelligence in the pragmatics of tool production (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, Int. Journal of Neuroscience, 1987, 32, 520; 315) according to Double Niche Transition Theory (Bujatti-Narbeshuber, 1985).

(Institute of Cultural Anthropology, Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow, Russia)


Based on the behaviour of Russian and Kalmyk junior school children, the paper focuses on the formation of gender identity and the emergence of two rival groups, males and females, which behave as two independent fractions within a single social structure. Identification with one of these fractions results in the acquisition of sex-specific behavioural style, preference of toys, clothing, haircut, and gait. When asked to draw men and women, children tend to accentuate attributes of their own and opposite sex. Women are seen as having large breasts and hips and long hair, are elegantly dressed and wear heels. Males have cropped hair and moustache and wear suits and ties. According to children's views, men and women differ as to occupation: while males are seen as businessmen, bankers, servicemen, pilots, racers, astronauts, and presidents, females are viewed as teachers, doctors, nurses, singers, painters, and housewives.
Children's ideas regarding sex differences and gender roles are by far more conservative than is the actual situation in either of the regions, central Russia or Kalmykia. Outward attributes of gender are evidently markers on which gender solidarity, resp. opposition, is based. Children's behaviour is highly gender-specific, enabling the child to better assume behavioural stereotypes and develop mechanisms of cooperation with representatives of its own sex. The formation of stereotypes concerning the opposite sex has much in common with the development of the enemy's image in between-group conflicts, the most important feature being genderocentrism: both boys and girls consider themselves to be superior. While girls describe boys as pugnacious, rowdy, fidgety and untidy, boys see girls as sneaks, cry-babies, liars, and bores. In groups studied by us, boys and girls formed sharply opposed fractions which occasionally clashed with one another. Gender antagonism may take on the form of play: rival parties become engaged in mock warfare, 'enemies' being chased, captured, 'subdued', etc. Similar games imitating warfare between the sexes have been described by others (James 1990; Smith 1992). Playful opposition may eventually result in actual fighting. In one of the clashes, several girls tried to subdue a boy by pressing him to the ground, tickling and pinching him. Boys tried to liberate him but failed. Contrasting images of one's own and opposite sex, and play hostility with respect to the latter may be part of an evolved strategy aimed at enhancing gender solidarity and cooperation. They apparently reflect the fundamental sociobiological paradigm concerning male vs. female opposition (Brereton 1995).
Supported by RFHR, grant # 96-01-00032, and RFBR, grant # 97-06-80272.

(Institute of Medical Primatology RAMS, Sochi)


Study of free-ranging hamadryas baboons behaviour on meeting was carried out in Gumista Primate Reserve during 1980-1993. Analysis of activity and behavioural patterns of animals belonging to different structural levels of one or different troops during the interactions was performed. The concept of 'meeting' used with respect to free-ranging hamadryas baboons was considered as spontaneous visual and acoustic contact of monkeys. The observations showed that on the lawn where feeding of monkeys was taking place the reaction of baboons to the animals of the approaching group depends first of all on the genetic relatedness of the animals in these groups and on the conditions in which they perform acoustic and visual identification on meeting. The first signs of reaction to approaching of another band of monkeys were seen immediately after their entering into the zone of audibility and were expressed by alert listening and gazing towards the approaching animals. In the case where the approaching animals belonged to another clan of the same band, the animals which were on the glade immediately lost their interest in them after acoustic and visual identification, while the newcomers quietly appeared on the glade. If the approaching animals belonged to another band of the same troop, the animals which were on the glade did not loose their interest in them, expressed by alert attention; the interest was maintained, or was becoming stronger. Evident attention and listening to the voice of newcomers was replaced by aggressiveness, mostly shown by young males. The behaviour of approaching animals was usually characterized by the lack of aggressive elements. On the contrary, the elements of friendly behaviour, more often of friendly contacts, were noted, which promoted quick reduction of tension and friendly proximity of 2 bands on the glade. On seeing the monkeys of the other troop approaching the glade, the animals of the resident troop showed stronger aggressive distant patterns involving all adult animals of the troop. The subsequent actions of both sides in that case were characterized by general distant aggression for several minutes followed by the escape of animals of the second smaller troop. During the whole observation period the cases of aggressive contacts or friendly behaviour in the animals of different troops, were not seen. There were no cases of animal transfer between two neighbouring troops of hamadryas baboons.
Supported by RFBR, grant # 96-06-80405.

Johan M.G. van der DENNEN
(Center for Peace & Conflict Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands)


The paper examines rituals and ritualized behaviours in both animals and man, and investigates the differences and commonalities between the two sets of phenomena. It discusses the (mainly anthropological) theories of human rituals and the (mainly ethological) theories of animal ritualized behaviours such as threat displays, conventional agonistic contests, and triumph ceremonies. The evolution of such ritualized behaviours is also treated.
Human (collective) rituals in and surrounding war (circumbelligerency rituals) such as pre-battle preparatory rituals and post-battle disculpation rituals), as well as instances of ritual warfare (warfare as callisthenics or 'game-like' wars) in preindustrial societies, are extensively discussed. It is noted that there are many misunderstandings about 'primitive' war. On the one hand, scholars like Dyer and Montagu consider 'primitive' war to be a relatively harmless pastime because ritualized to a great extent. Researchers such as Keeley, on the other hand, consider 'primitive' war to be guerre à l'outrance (war to the knife) because not ritualized at all. The paper tries to reconcile these rather one-sided and extreme positions by positing an assessment-and-escalation model.
Finally, the paper critically examines Eibl-Eibesfeldt's claim that in the ritualization of human 'primitive' war culture phenocopies nature. It is concluded, a.o., that ritual in humans seems to have a primarily apotropaic function: it reduces fear and anxiety and reinforces the social cohesion and solidarity of the group. As most human rituals involve some procession-like program (or 'format'), or concerted and synchronized rhythmic activity (e.g., collective dances), it seems appropriate to refer to their succession of steps, their sequence of behaviours (or behavioural syntax) as 'choreography', though no conscious dramaturge or conductor (other than 'tradition') may be involved.

(Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia)


The social behaviour and communication in 12 species (Cacajao calvus, Lagothrix lagothricha, Cebus albifrons, C. capucinus, C. apella, Saimiri boliviensis, S. sciureus, Aotus vociferans, Callimico goeldii, Saguinus fuscicollis, S. mystax, Callithrix jachus) was observed. The investigation was conducted in Projecto Peruviano Primates, Iquitos (Peru) and St-Petersburg's Zoo. Affiliative and aggressive patterns of social behaviour were observed; different forms of communication in groups - visual (mimics, gestures, postures), tactile contacts, olfactory and marking behaviour, some acoustical signals were differentiated. Locomotory activity and territory utilization of each group member were observed. The elements and complexes of behaviour were registered by special matrix. It was found that locomotory activity, territory utilization, patterns of social behaviour and communication reflected the level of species phylogenetic development.
Comparison by method of numeric taxonomy allowed us to determine the two levels in development of social behaviour and communication among Platyrrhini: 1. High level - representatives of genus Cacajao, Lagothrix, Cebus; 2. Low level - representatives of genus Aotus, Saimiri, Callimico, Saguinus, Callithrix. The behavioural patterns were interconnected with the types of social structure (multi-male system in the first group; family and pair system in the second group).
The behavioural characteristics allowed us to differentiate some tendencies in the evolution of behaviour of Neotropical monkeys.

Harald A. EULER, Sabine HOIER & Elizabeth POLITZ
(Kassel University, Germany)


398 participants rated on a 7-point scale how much their aunts and uncles had been concerned about their welfare and whether the matri- or patrilateral aunt and uncle was the more concerned. The matrilateral aunt was more often chosen as the more concerned one than the patrilateral aunt, and the same for the uncles. The ANCOVA of the kin investment ratings, adjusted for the difference in age and residential distance of aunts and uncles, showed a sizeable sex effect (aunt more concerned than uncles), a small but significant laterality effect (matrilateral aunts/uncles more concerned) and a significant interaction (matrilateral bias stronger in aunts than in uncles). These German results are comparable to those of Gaulin et al. (1997) from the USA. The participants were also asked by which name they addressed their grandparents and aunts/uncles. Independent observers rated the emotional proximity of the various address forms. Whereas the discriminative solicitude of the four grandparents is reflected both in number and address forms given as well as in rated emotional proximity of address forms (most for maternal grandmother, less for paternal grandfather), the same did not apply to aunts and uncles. Various studies have consistently found the matrilateral investment bias to be stronger in female than in male relatives. Possible explanations for this sex difference are discussed.

(Biological Department, Moscow State University, Russia)


D. major' territorial defence was researched. Two hypotheses of supporting mechanism of forming of the unique strategy of bird's territorial defence and integrated their in steady social structure were tested.
1. Strategy of social behaviour is characteristic of a bird even before its inclusion in the settlement.
2. The individual strategy of social behaviour is being formed as a result of accumulation of its consecutive victories/defeats and social effects of signals 1-8, which determines actual victories/defeats and future bird's signalling tactics in next combats.
This mechanism was revealed by studying the influence of exposition regime of opponents' signals 1-8 with different Q (signal effectiveness/expression time, sec) on the qualitative and quantitative character of the victory/defeat. If the victory as caused by exposition of any among the signals with Q quality then in the next conflict the minimum value of Q falls down, which realization at the holding of this signal is necessary for the victory. At the same time the average value of Q, gained at holding of the signal, is raising. If signal exposition with certain Q caused a defeat then a similar type of influence on the success of the bird's social communication in the next conflict is found, however, it has opposite direction. We showed that effectiveness of bird's behaviour in the next conflict is determined by the success of the previous communication with the help of signals 1-8 and its social effect - victory or a defeat of different quality (equal to Q of the caused signals). We found out that this effect is a reason for facilitation of the victory in the next conflict of the winner even if it uses lenuous deepening of divergence of unique strategies of birds' territorial behaviour on the effectiveness of territorial protection, repertoire composition, tactics of communication, signals in conflicts and strategies in the choice of the opponent according to the perspective of maximization Q victory and minimization of bird's time costs for the exposition of signals. Results of our investigation allow us to make a choice towards the second hypothesis - formation of bird's unique strategy of social behaviour happens as a result of the competition among neighbours - opponents for possibility, winning the opponent, to influence at a greater extent with the help of its signal behaviour on its signal tactics and social strategy, at stronger determination of its own behaviour by invariant mechanisms of communication based on 8 territorial signals. The more successive its strategy is the more obviously maximization Q and minimization of time costs and costs of direct aggression for the signal exposition with given Q are expressed.

(Krasnoyarsk State University, Krasnoyarsk State A&M University, Krasnoyarsk State Technical University)


Social norms depend strongly on the relations represented by them. Hence, one can distinguish several types of norms, in dependence on their existence duration. The most long-living norms are those representing biological features of human species, and the fundamental issues of social organisation.
Another group of norms constitute those that represent the relations concerning the geographic environment of a society. These norms are peculiar for rather long time period of their existence, and quite often still persist in spite of the environment had changed entirely. Another group of social norms is constituted by those representing a level of development of economic and/or political relations. The Roman legal norms are a good exempla of social norms adequate to the free exchange economy. Obviously, Roman jurists managed to understand and arrange into the legal form the most optimal ways of social organisation of the corresponding economic relations.
Finally, the least stable (from the point of view of the existence duration) social norms are those of purely psychological nature. Fashion makes an ultimate example of that type of norms.
Special group of norms is constituted from those representing various cyclical processes in society. One should distinguish cyclical processes in social normativity vs. periodical changes where new normative entities occur from time to time, making no cycle. We believe, the periodicity in norm system allows to discuss the duration of the existence of the normative system.
The dynamics of social norms is influenced strongly by the inheritance of them, that is why the study of existence duration will bring key knowledge in this issue.

(Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, Russia)


The investigation of the aesthetic preference of human appearance by the use of methods of physical anthropology was carried out in 15 different ethnic groups among the students of the Universities of the age of 18-25 years. The probationers were asked to choose the most attractive face features according to the standard anthropological scales: eye colour, hair colour, nose and lip forms, face outline, epicanthus. On the same individuals their real morphotype (RT) was described, which was compared with the 'ideal' or preferred one (PT). The anthropological autoidentification index, as the relation between RT and PT was introduced to characterise the mechanism of formation of the populational ideal of beauty as a special system of values. This index reflects the supposed tendency towards the integration or disintegration of the group. Sex differences in the process of formation of the preferred types as well as some ethnic specificity, were stated. The results of the present study show a great degree of closeness between the PT and RT with respect to the male preferred ideal in all the investigated groups. The female ideal type tends to deviate from the real one. The autoidentification index displays rather wide range of intergroup variation. The aesthetic preference of the individuals does not depend much on their own appearance. The ideal type (PT) can be considered as a populational characteristic along with the real one.

Sabine HOIER
(Kassel University, Germany)


The evolutionary socialization theory of Belsky et al. (1991) explains the accelerated menarche of women from non-regular family environments as one aspect of a quantitative reproductive (QR) strategy. Behaviour in intimate relationships is seen as structured along a qualitative/quantitative dimension, comparable to the r- vs K- strategic dimension in ethology. The acceleration of menarche, however, can also be ultimately explained with a conditional inbreeding avoidance (IA) strategy or with a male shortage (MS) tactic.
The IA hypothesis postulates a correlation between menarche delay and duration/intensity of contact to adult related males. The MS hypothesis views acceleration of menarche as an adaptation to increased intrasexual female competition due to male scarcity. The predictions of the three explanations differ in the following areas: A strong QR version predicts increased acceleration and associated behaviours with frequent partner changes of the mother during the daughter's childhood. A weaker version does not require such a clear correlation but still predicts an increase latitude of acceptance of potential partners, as decreased inclination for enduring partner bonds and a reduced willingness for maternal investment. The last prediction is not deduced from the MS hypothesis, but increased acceptance of potential partner is.
Additionally, this hypothesis predicts the effects to be the stronger the less partner the mother had during the daughter's childhood. If no differences are reliably shown between women from regular and non-regular families, apart from acceleration of menarche, the most parsimonious explanation is IA.
The aim of the research project is the search for the best data fit. Results from the pilot study are presented.

Belsky, J., Steinberg, L. & Draper, P. (1991). Childhood experience, interpersonal development, and reproductive strategy: An evolutionary theory of socialization. Child Development, 62, 647-670.

Alexander A. KAZANKOV


The present paper is aimed at studying of the inter-band conflicts among the hunter-gatherers that live under different ecological conditions. Among the Kalahari Bushmen, for example, all sorts of open conflict are kept at minimal level. Data of L. Marshall, R.B. Lee, J. Bjerre and others are of good agreement that Ju|hoansi of the Namibia and Botswana were in the 50s and 60s consciously avoiding conflicts and placed no social value on fighting abilities. In North-Eastern and North-Central Arnhemland, on the contrary, these abilities were valued high and even some prestige could have been gained from spearing a person in the back or while sleeping. Here too, the data are quite consistent (Berndts, L. Warner, W. Blainey). What are the causes of such a difference in social norms and behaviour? These, as we guess, may be grouped into three categories.
1. Ecological factors. The effect of this group can be seen easily. Rainfall in any desert is erratic and the hunter-gathering populations must be thinly and optimally spread over vast foraging territory. Thus deme, or nexus of bands can survive in the long run only if the social relations within it are predominantly of peaceful character. In terms of figures there is 5 to 7 times higher rates of homicide in Arnhemland in comparison with Kalahari. Similarly to Bushmen, there is low intensity of conflict in other semidesert areas such as Great Basin of USA or Western Desert of Australia.
2. Ethnohistorical factors. Second group is the most powerful one. If a group of simple hunter-gatherers were in the past intimidated by members of the more complex societies, this experience invariably strengthens their original peacefulness, if such existed. Ju|hoansi of the North-Western Kalahari were not an encapsulated group similar to Hadza, Bambuti or Senoi. Their contacts with white elephant-hunters and black pastoralists started only in 1870s. Yet these contacts could have modified some aspects of the social behaviour of the !Kung of the Nyae Nyae region. As to The White Knife Shoshoni of Nevada, the description of their social life by J. Steward and J. Harris appears to be correct and corroborated by the archaeological record.
3. Biological factors, the most complicated group. I suggest that both Bushmen and Central Mongoloids males have lower testosterone level in comparison with, for example, Europeoids. It is experimentally proven that the testosterone level in blood plasma affects some forms of the provoked aggression in humans (D. Olweus). Lower levels of testosterone in the above-mentioned populations may have evolved independently during the last Pleniglacial episode (25-16 ka.) as a result of a non-specific sociobiological adaptation to the desert conditions.

(Loyola College, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)


Whereas ritual can be conceived of as the result of a ceremonial, emotive, and nonanalytic process of cognition, law is a deliberate attempt to delete ceremonial, intuitive, and emotive elements from the resolution of conflicts. The PROCEDURE of resolving conflicts and the legal model of cognition are analytic, deductive, and empirical and, thus, antithetical to the idea of ritual. However, stripped of ritual components, law in certain situations cannot readily claim the support and legitimacy of particular outcomes (for example, in certain cases). Consequently, the INSTITUTION of law (as distinguished from the PROCEDURES of law) ends up relying on certain myths, often demonstrably false, in order to be able to claim legitimacy to output from the legal processes. The reliance on myths, thus, restores to the INSTITUTION of law a ceremonial, emotive, and nonanalytic element originally deleted by the banishment of ritual from the PROCEDURES of law.

(Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, Saint-Petersburg, Russia)


Laughter has often been said to result from 'tickling of the heart' (St. Augustin) or 'tickling of the mind' (Darwin). While many believe that laughter from being tickled is a reflex action unrelated to humour, others feel that it may provide an insight into the psychology of humorous laughter. According to Kant, Hartley, and Hecker, both forms of laughter are caused by oscillation between contrasting bodily resp. mental states (tension alternating with relief, or pain with pleasure). However, because one cannot tickle oneself, and even the anticipation of being tickled by another person makes one laugh (Leuba), social context is more important than physiological effect. Indeed, as noted by Robinson and Sully, and contrary to what Alexander and Weisfeld suggest, tickling is not 'pleasant stimulation' but playful aggression. It has nothing to do with grooming. Respectively, laughter is not an expression of pleasure or gratitude. As demonstrated by van Hooff, the precursor of laughter was the ritualized bite used by nonhuman primates to signal nonhostile intentions during rough-and-tumble play. The fake bite as a reaction to being tickled is practised by some children at the age of 2-4 (Robinson), and at 3-5, children, like nonhuman primates, use laughter as a signal of peacefulness during rough-and tumble play (Blurton-Jones). Humour results from the extension of the original semantics of laughter to a much broader class of contexts without the loss of original meaning: 'whatever we do or say now is wrong but should not be taken seriously'. Individually, laughter is adaptive because it is a means of turning wrongdoing into play and avoiding punishment (to regard ridicule as social punishment is evidently futile). Socially, laughter is adaptive because, being presymbolic, it secures social cohesion on a deeper level than language can do.
Supported by RFBR, grant # 96-06-80405.

(Institute of Medical Primatology RAMS, Sochi, Russia)


A conception of 'maternal style' was for the first time mentioned by C.B. Berman. In a number of publications on mother-infant relationships in rhesus monkeys (Berman, 1984, 1988, 1990) individual characteristics of these relationships, identified as 'maternal style' were shown. We suggest that the conception of maternal style can be used for intergroup differences in this behaviour. These differences were found during the study of interactions of females with infants and other animals in three groups of cynomolgus macaques. The observations were long-term, each group was under the observation for 6-10 years. The results showed that the character of mother-infant relationships is closely related with social 'microclimate' in each group and first of all with the level of aggression towards mother-females. The frequency of aggression directed to mother-females was linked with the age of their infants; it was minimal for females with infants in the age of 0-8 weeks, attained its maximum for those with 9-16 week old infants with following decrease to the medium level. Reliable intergroup differences in the average level of aggression towards the mother-females were found, which persisted during the whole period of mother care, as well as in the frequency of aggressive display in mother-females. Besides, it was established that the highest level of maternal care was displayed in the group, in which the average aggression towards the mother-females was the highest. Mother-females in this group were less confident, they spent much time with infants and more often displayed the behaviour characterized by following the infants and keeping them by side. In another group the mothers showed more stabile and confident style of maternal behaviour. The level of maternal behaviour display in this group was lower than in previously considered ones, as well as the frequency of aggression towards the mother-females. And finally, in the third group the medium level of mother care against the comparatively not high level of aggression towards the mother-females was shown.
Supported by RFBR, grant # 96-06-80405.

(Augsburg University, Germany)


Rituals play an important role in human, as well as in animal communication. Recent studies have unveiled numerous homologies in human and animal communication, for instance in facial and gestural displays, as well as in the role of certain neurotransmitters, underlying these behaviours. Despite these homologies, it is suggested that peculiar features of human rituals by far exceed the impact of similarities.
Unlike animals displays, 'most human rituals had more than just an immediate signal value' (Wilson 1975:561). It is therefore suggested that, due to some general characteristics of human language, human individuals when trying to decode the meaning of any given message, have to cope with a multitude of potential meanings. Uncertainty about the meaning of communications poses a major problem for human behaviour, however, because any type of social interaction requires some sort of harmony on the meaning of messages.
Due to their predominantly individualistic views, sociobiologists often tend to emphasize deceit and cheating as rational strategies for maximizing individual benefits. While the role of these strategies must not be denied, it seems that rituals have been designed by evolution so as to further concurring views. The main thesis to be presented is that, unlike some predictions from kin selection theory, most people seem to be very susceptible to the standardizing impact of rituals. Typically, rituals evoke similar emotions in participants which in turn may further harmony among them. Therefore, human emotionality may be understood as a major proximate mechanism, underlying the impact of rituals. It seems that participants may, by focusing their attention onto the ongoing ritual, enjoy a sort of harmonizing effect on their emotional states, as well as of their behavioural orientations.
Due to the peculiar role of emotions and cognitions in human behaviour, there is a borderline for the use of homologies in animal and human behaviour. While animal rituals undoubtedly are also causally related to the emotional states of individual participants, there seems to be a closer causal link between certain signals, emotional states and actual behaviours as compared to human behaviour.

(University of Connecticut, USA)


Ritual meditative practices, collective and private, are among the earliest hallmarks of the religions of civilization. The appurtenances of the tantra constitute one of the earliest examples of codified behaviour in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism. Though originally associated with their high philosophies, in time the meanings, ritual procedures, and material equipment used by tantricists degenerated into folk cults wherein sexual symbolism took on various shades of meaning, at first in India and later on in several other parts of Hindu-Buddhist Asia. In the course of their overland and overseas migrations, sexual symbols in turn reverted to the original idea of bhuta tathata - 'the suchness of things', 'the essence of existence' of ritualists bent on finding 'enlightenment'. The idealism reached its zenith in the eccentricities of Ch'an and Zen (Chinese and Japanese corruption of the Sanskrit word jnana, meditation).
The utterly haphazard changes, chronologies, and rapid transformations of the symbolic content of the tantra cannot in a way be explained on the basis of the sociobiological theory of the co-evolution of genes and culture, in natural selection of groups, and 'ecclesiastic selection'; for the course of the changes themselves is verifiable from historic, theological, and ethnic viewpoints. And this fact, the critical, not wholly committed sociobiologist would be wise not to ignore.

(Sector for Biosocial Studies, Cell Physiology and Immunology Department, Biology Faculty, Moscow State University, Russia)


This presentation concentrates on the evolutionary dimension of human social structures. It is emphasized that, throughout the animal kingdom, the (bio)social systems (colonies, families, societies, associations, etc.) depend on the following main social coordination factors also relevant to human social organizational patterns:
(1) leadership (dominance), with most individuals in the system carrying out the leader's command; this mechanism of behavioural coordination, although widespread in the animal kingdom and even beyond it (e.g., it occurs in the slime mold Dictyostellium discoideum), does not represent the only option available for social systems;
(2) local symmetric behavioural interactions among individuals, resulting in reciprocal imitation/facilitation of behaviours (in human society, this type of behavioural coordination is called 'keeping up with the Joneses');
(3) diffuse chemical communication agents or physical fields activating particular behavioural patterns and responsible for relay transfer of messages throughout the system, characteristic of diverse animal (and even microbial) social systems and apparently even of human small face-to-face groups, in which the olfactory and presumably also the electromagnetic communication channel operates. While coordination factor (1) results in formation of dominance-submission structures, the other factors promote non-hierarchical social interaction patterns. Based on the recent data of primatological studies, the higher primates, especially 'The Great Apes' are characterized, in many cases, by prevalent non-hierarchical social systems. For example, the chimpanzees and bonobos demonstrate a whole gammut of egalitarian social interactions (food sharing, grooming, games), despite the possible existence of agonistic or hedonistic dominance structures. Human primitive hunter-gatherer bands, in light of the recent findings concerning the still surviving primitive societies, also appear to be dominated by egalitarian relationships, allowing for temporary, partial, or 'task-limited' leadership. On this basis, we argue that modern human social groups can in many cases be restructured on the analogy of primitive hunting bands (decentralized leadership + broad specialization + enhanced informal relationships), and a project in the field of group management is suggested by us. We argue that a task force, a small-size enterprise, or a research team dealing with interdisciplinary studies, can efficiently operate on the above principles. A concrete project irrelevant to politics but, as we believe, helpful on the micro-level of society, is described (the 'hirama project'), and both its advantages and limitations are discussed, bearing in mind the results of our practical experience concerning an attempt to put into practice the principles corresponding to ethological and anthropological data and concepts. A self-contained part of this presentation is concerned with the chemical volatile agents facilitating social interactions (with particular emphasis on the mediators produced by microoorganisms inhabiting the skin glands and intestine of animals and humans). Recent experimental data including our own findings indicate that microorganisms also supply the host organism with neurortransmitters (serotonin, -aminobutyric acid, NO) which influence social behaviours, e. g. the dominance-submission relationships.

(Institute of Animal Ecology, Novosibirsk; Novosibirsk State University, Russia)


Ants' capacity for recognizing other individuals has been studied mainly in a field of interactions within an ant's guild, we mean intercolony and inter-species communications. Surprisingly, very little has been reported on how ants deal with other invertebrates on an individual level and how development of such behaviour is affected by early experience. In laboratory experiments we examined inter-relations between Formica polyctena ants and symbiotic aphids they tended. Behavioural patterns of normal and naive lab reared ants were compared. It turned out that ants-aphids interactions and a technique of aphid 'milking' is based on innate recognition and following tuning but division of labour within honeydew collectors is determined by social experience. In natural ant colonies we revealed constant teams of aphid milkers which include different groups: 'aphid ants' collect honeydew droplets, 'transporting ants' carry honeydew to the nest, 'discovering ants' search for new aphid colonies and sometimes they may take the place of other members. Lab reared ants manage with aphids quite satisfactorily but they lack effective system of task switching. Ants' interaction with competitors were examined using simple mazes where ant individuals had to meet predatory or herbivorous carabids. It turned out that ants disregard herbivorous beetles but when meeting with predatory ones, both partners use different strategies to avoid a conflict. Ants do not catch carabids, they try to scare them. It is amazing that an antennal contact of an ant and a beetle precedes conflicts. Antennal contacts were considered before as a feature of social insects' interactions with each other only. With some other behavioural patterns, this enables us to suppose that ants and predatory invertebrates recognize each other like dogs and cats. We hypothesize that ants use some special ways to interact with different sorts of competitors and symbionts and that includes some elements of ritual identity.
Supported by Russian Fund for Fundamental Investigations (# 96-04-50155).

(Institute of Animal Ecology, Novosibirsk; Siberian Academy of Telecommunication and Computer Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia)


Our long term experiments have shown that group retrieving ant species with a high level of social organization have a symbolic language which is more complex that the Honeybee Dance Language, unequalled in animals before (Reznikova Zh. & Ryabko B., Memorabilia Zoologica, 1994, 48, 219-236; B. Ryabko & Zh. Reznikova, Complexity, 1996, vol.2, N 2, 37-42). This fact appears to indicate not that other social animals lack natural symbolic language, but that adequate methods are lacking.
It is natural to use information theory in the investigation of communication systems because this theory presents general principles and methods for developing effective and reliable communication systems. The main point of our approach is that our experiments provide a situation in which animals have to transmit information quantitatively known to the experimentalist in order to obtain food. The results obtained enable us to arrange some common properties in human and ant languages. Since that discovery we have at least two points in a field of natural communications, so we may analyse and generalize and speak about statistics.
The characteristics revealed have to be inherent to all developed communication systems: 1. The presence of potentially unlimited numbers of messages; 2. The proportionality of the duration of information transmission and the quantity of information; 3. The ability of language carriers to quickly grasp the regularities and to change their communication system flexibly in order to conform to new conditions. For example, both ants and humans are able to use regularities for coding and 'compression' of information. However, it is noteworthy that mean values of the rate of the information transmission in three ant species are, by about an order, smaller than those of human communication.
We believe that the experimental schemes described in the report can be used to study the communication systems of other animals.
Supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (##96-04-50155, 96-01-00052).

(Institute of Biophysics SD of RAS; Krasnoyarsk State Technical University; Krasnoyarsk State University, Russia)


A number of animal species exhibit an advanced pattern in social organization; rather often these latter substitute a real human society in common mind, being a model of society. A question arises what entities related to social, human nature of society comes from the biological 'basement'. A problem of biological foundation of law is rather acute in studies, since it is relevant to the increasing impact of the concept of natural law (mostly, in West European countries). Content of the norms of natural law should be considered as a problem of the biology of law. Unfortunately, currently the problem of the biology of law is reduced to the zoology of law, that is a seeking for relevant patterns in social behaviour of animals and people, as well as a promotion of rather doubtful ideas on the states and legislation existence in communities of animals. One is to figure out the break-points where biological origin of man is reflected in legislative system developed and realized by man. First, the process of origin and development of law itself considered as a continuation of biosocial evolution. Second, the law could fix some behavioural patterns of biological origin, among them are the dietary regulation, matrimonial, territory behaviour, etc. Third, the biological features of an individual can be juridical facts; these are sex, age, health status (including psychological one), etc. Finally, fourth, the biological features of man may impact on his legal consciousness, thus influencing the behaviour. One hardly could meet the positive legal consciousness among the biologically unhealthy individual. Probably, this idea holds true both for an individual, and for a society. We put a problem that is necessary to resolve for development of the biology of law. We believe, more discussion is needed to promote the problem.

(Institute of Human Behavioural Science, Faculty of Business Administration, Yokohama National University, Japan)


In this paper, I focus on the reception of Darwinism and sociobiology in Japan. Darwinian evolutionary theory was firstly introduced into Japan during the late 19th century, but was accepted as a theory for social evolution, not for biological, as it was in several other countries. We Japanese failed to create biological Darwinian study program even after WW II. There was no Darwinism in Japan until 1970s. Then arrived Wilsonian-Dawkinsian sociobiology which broke the Japanese 'seclusion' of evolutionary biology during early 1980s. We can observe the following two features in the process of introduction of sociobiology: (1) ecologists in 'branch' streams and younger scientists took initiative, and (2) the lack of controversy. The latter shows impressive contrast against the situation in the English speaking countries. As the reasons for these features, I can point out (a) the absence of Darwinism itself; (b) the lack of opposition from the left, and (c) the absence of a popular science press.
German speaking countries also experienced a long delay in the adoption of sociobiological thought. However, they experienced rather serious controversies of their own. Korea shows another pattern. Classical ethology, sociobiology and even evolutionary psychology simultaneously in early 1990s. But they started unique popularization of these ideas, which has not yet occurred in Japan.

(Department of Sociology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA)


In the nearly quarter-century since its beginnings, sociobiology has made enormous intellectual accomplishments and has become a major paradigm within the social sciences, psychology and anthropology in particular. However, despite these accomplishments, sociobiology is still a very incomplete approach. It works best in the areas of human sexuality, gender, and family and kinship, for obvious reasons, and has considerable relevance for such areas of human behaviour as stratification, politics and war, ethnicity, and religion. But even with regard to the areas where its explanatory power is greatest, it is by no means a sufficient theoretical approach. Much more is going on in human social life than the maximization of inclusive fitness. However, sociobiology is an excellent foundation on which to build, and it can be selectively combined with other theoretical approaches in sociology and anthropology in order to extend its explanatory power. This paper creates a new theoretical approach, grounded in sociobiology, which is referred to as synthetic materialism. To sociobiology's theoretical base, synthetic materialism adds various elements of cultural materialism, a well-known approach in anthropology, along with Marxian and Weberian conflict theory and rational choice theory, well-known sociological approaches. The final part of the paper illustrates the explanatory power of synthetic materialism in regard to social stratification.

(Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Moscow, Russia)


The author examines the concepts regarding human reproduction and procreation ideas espoused by the Khasi, a matrilineal Austroasiatic-speaking people (Meghalaya, North-Eastern India).
As among many other ethnic groups, the Khasi understanding of the nature of the human person rests squarely on their appreciation of the nature of procreation (R. Huntington. 1988. P.23).
This paper uses the results and interpretations from previous research, data made available in different publications. The author makes the attempt to examine the opinions of earlier scholars and the new interpretations of recent years. In the present author's opinion, an attempt undertaken by K. Arhem (1988) to explain the Khasi concept of the person through the analysis of their funerary rites was not successful because K. Arhem interpreted ethnographic material on the Khasi without paying much regard to the traditional notions about female and male procreative roles.
Based on the material presented, it is argued that the Khasi idea of human reproduction essentially differs from the widely reported pattern of beliefs about the female source of a child's flesh and the essentially male association of its bones (R. Huntington. 1988 P.28). ('We can recognize, though, that the potential for such a piece of ideology is there' (A. Strathern. 1981): the spermatogenous nature of the umbilical cord).
The Khasi believe that a child gets its life and blood from the mother and its stature and form from the father. This conception of social procreation is common, typical for the most matrilineal societies.
The paper gives a short survey of procreation ideas held by the Garo and the Lalung peoples of North-Eastern India stressing the similarities and differences between these matrilineal Tibeto-Burman speakers and the Khasi.
The author shows that folk theories of human reproduction and the nature of substance transmission between parents and children prevalent among the Garo, the Lalung and the Khasi minimize the role of paternity and emphasize the maternal substance.
It is concluded that although in the Khasi idioms of relatedness reference is made to a matrilineally inherited, shared and received substance, the most common idiom used to express maternal and matrilineal relations is one (the same) womb, or if to put it into other words, the accent is made on the common source (origin).
The article represents an attempt at typological comparison between the Khasi material and pre-modern Western theories of procreation, advanced and developed by Aristotle and Galen.

(Primate Research group VUFB a.s., Konarovice, Czech Republic; Primate Research Center, St. Petersburg, Russia; Leningrad Zoo, St. Petersburg, Russia)


The group of 6 hamadryas baboons from the Leningrad Zoo was introduced to the island in the Central Cultural Park (St. Petersburg) during the summer 1995 for the ethological observation and making the movies. This introduction was the second one. At first time the same group of hamadryas baboons was introduced to the island during summer 1994 and after the end of expedition this group came back to the Zoo. The main goals of this presentation are:
1. The analysis of behavioural change of each animal from this group after introduction to the island and
2. Comparison of these changes with the behaviour of this group directly before the introduction.
We registered the seven types of behaviour: locomotory, feeding, social, play, parental, agonistic and sexual.
Supported by Grant Agency of Czech Republic - grant projects #206/93/1029 and #206/96/0166.

(University of Helsinki, Finland)


It will be argued in this paper that ingroup/outgroup behaviour and human tendency to form various groups that compete with each other may represent hypertrophic modifications of our evolved disposition to align with kin people in cooperative hunting and interest conflicts. This universal human disposition is called nepotism. When the size of human communities grew, this behavioural disposition became transformed into ethnic nepotism. People retained their disposition to align with kin people, or with imagined kin people, in interest conflicts. Therefore ethnic conflicts are so common in all ethnically divided societies. The persistence of ethnic conflicts throughout the world is an evidence of the survival and strength of the ancient human disposition to align with kin people. It can be further argued that when people started to establish other types of social and interest groups, they resorted to our ancient disposition to align with kin people. It was important to give the impression that group members were kin people. Therefore it is so common to speak of 'brothers and sisters' within all types of social, political, national and class organizations. This argumentation leads to the conclusion that we cannot, for example, explain ethnocentrism by a cultural tendency to form all kinds of groups and to make a difference between ingroup and outgroup members because ethnocentrism is the form of nepotism and ethnic nepotism has preceded all later types of social groups, which are hypertrophic modifications of our original disposition to cooperate with our relatives. Further, this argumentation leads to the proposition that we can expect the canalization of interest conflicts along ethnic lines in all ethnically divided societies and the more so the more deeply the population is divided into separate ethnic groups. It is also plausible to expect that, in conflict situations, ethnic group loyalties will prove to be stronger than other types of group loyalties. In the end of the paper, the writer refers to the results of his empirical study on the universality of ethnic conflicts in all ethnically divided countries.



Tai peoples made a significant contribution to development of civilisation in continental South-East Asia and play an important role in its modern history. At present their total number is over 90 mln. pers. Study of ethnonyms is of a great importance for better understanding relations among Tai-speaking ethnoses and between these ethnoses and their neighbours, evolution of their ethnic consciousness and problems of their ethnogenesis. Processes of ethnic identification and self-identification also distinctly reveal through ethnonyms. One can see important changes in ethnonyms of Tai-speaking peoples for the past centuries, but especially in the recent time. The latter reflects processes of formation of national states and heterogeneous ethnic processes.
Considerable part of ethnonyms of Tai peoples as well as of the majority of peoples of continental South-East Asia originates from the notion 'people', 'human'. Ethnonym Thai, or Tai, Dai itself adopted by almost all Tai-speaking peoples as their original name has this meaning. Many Tai ethnonyms also include terms 'phu', 'khon' that mean the same. But local consciousness still dominates in many regions with Tai-speaking population. This situation results in conservation of numerous local names, which in many cases supplemented with common term 'thai/tai', meaning 'people', 'population'. Now this term also more often applies to non-Tai peoples as a designation of community of people.
But some Tai-speaking peoples adopted original ethnonyms that differ from ethnonym Thai. Most numerous among them is Lao. At the same time the author assumes that origin of ethnonym Lao can also be connected with notion 'people', 'human'.
There is some other specific ethnonyms among Tai peoples, such as Lu', Yuan (khon mu'ang) etc. At the same time original name of Yuan - khon mu'ang - etymologically is very close to the meaning 'people of definite community', in that case 'people of mu'ang', the latter is socio-political unit of Tai peoples, evolving into state, often translated as 'country', 'principality'.
Existence of ethnonyms derivative from notion 'people', 'ourself', 'genuine people' etc., as a rule, according to the 'law of series', implies presence of dichotomy 'we/they', 'genuine people-ungenuine people'. This conformity is most evident in dichotomy 'Thai(Lao)-Kha', arose in medieval Lao states. It is remarkable that such a dichotomy was not recorded in Tai state of Siam. At the same time Siamese (Khontai) for a long time set off themselves (as the Thai) against Lao, applying quite often ethnonym of the latter to other non-Siamese Tai-speaking peoples, for example, Yuan. It seems that such an attitude reveals dichotomy 'Thai-Lao', or 'Thai-Lavo' (the latter is one of indigenous peoples belongs to pre-Tai population). It may also reveals contraposition between Siamese and other Tai-speaking peoples, whom the former regarded with arrogance and also frequently captured their representatives for the purpose of turning them into vassal population.
At present, when two independent Tai states, Thailand and Laos, exist, one can trace a tendency towards dissemination original names of their main ethnoses, Thai and Lao, on other ethnoses of these states. But while in Thailand its government practising consideration only Tai-speaking population as the Thai, the leaders of Laos pursuing the policy of regarding all indigenous peoples of the country as the Lao in accordance with the theory of three ethnozonal groups of Lao nation.

(Institute of Philosophy, Peking, China)


Just like human economic behaviour has its evolutionary roots (I analysed it in my book: Marxism and Human Sociobiology, Albany, 1994), human rituals and group identity might be explored either from the perspective of biological theory. However, this exploration would probably meet its limit in the sense of philosophical anthropology. After all, we are social beings at the cultural and historical levels and the meeting of philosophical ontology. Confucian culture in China might be a good example for this. It is well-known of Confucianism's speaking of 'ren' (benevolence) and 'li' (rituals). Such doctrines, however, would be intelligible or understandable only against the background of Chinese agricultural civilization in a long time. In some cases it even gave service to the dominance as a state ideology and a tool of Chinese pre-industrial social integration. This is, therefore, a historical-sociological topic rather than an evolutionary topic.

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