Property is rare in most nonhuman primates, most likely because their lifestyles are not conducive to it. Nonetheless, just because these species do not frequently maintain property does not mean that they lack the propensity to do so. Primates show respect for possession, as well as behaviors related to property, such as irrational decision making regarding property (e.g. the endowment effect) and barter. The limiting factor in species other than humans is likely the lack of social and institutional controls for maintaining property. By comparing primates and humans, we gain a better understanding of how human property concepts have evolved.
Brosnan, SF. (2011). Property in non-human primates. New Directions for Child & Adolescent Development, 2011(132), 9-22. doi: 10.1002/cd.293
This article was originally published in the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development. The definitive version is available at www3.interscience.wiley.com. Copyright © 2011 Wiley.
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