Int J Primatol https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-018-0035-9 Primate Tales: Using Literature to Understand Changes in Human–Primate Relations Sindhu Radhakrishna Received: 9 August 2017 /Accepted: 6 February 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018 Abstract Primate species, by and large, are culturally significant icons across their habitat. One of the more prominent expressions of this lies in the revered status of macaques and langurs in South and Southeast Asia, largely because of their religious status in Hinduism. People’s belief in these species’ sanctity often serves to protect them from physical harm or retaliation in conflict situations and thus strongly mediates their conservation. The nature of this interface has changed over the years of mutual interactions between the two groups. Trends in literature are useful markers of sociocultural developments in human life and reflect changes in human views with respect to the world around them. I investigated Tamil language poetical works from southern India to analyze people’s attitudes toward primates and changes in their views of primates over time. My findings suggest that sacredness was not a defining characteristic of human–primate relations in ancient times. The deification of monkeys occurred later and was largely driven by the growing popularity of Ramayana,
International Journal of Primatology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 4, 2018
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