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In Quest of the Sacred Baboon

In Quest Of The Sacred Baboon: A Scientist's Journey


In a tale that begins at a zoo in Zurich and takes us across the deserts of Ethiopia to the Asir Mountains in Saudi Arabia, Hans Kummer recreates the adventure and intellectual thrill of the early days of field research on primates. Just as Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey introduced readers to the fascinating lives of chimpanzees and gorillas, Kummer brings us face to face with the Hamadryas baboon. With their furry white mantles and gleaming red hindquarters, the Hamadryas appear frequently in the art of the ancient Egyptians--who may have interpreted the baboons' early morning grooming rituals as sun-worshiping rites. Back then, Hamadryas were thought to be incarnates of Thoth, the god of wisdom; today they are considered to have one of the most highly structured social systems among primates, very close, in some respects, to that of humans. In the 1960s, Kummer, after conflicts with nomadic warriors, managed to track down these elusive baboons near the Danakil Desert, and then followed them from dawn to dusk on their treks from one feeding place to another. His scientific account of this period reads like a travel memoir as he describes his encounters with the Hamadryas and the people with whom they share the desert. Winding his way through cliffs and stubble, Kummer records the baboons' social life, from the development of pair relationships to the way an entire group decides where to march each day. Much like the human nomads who cope with the harsh demands of the desert environment, the Hamadryas maintain a society that is strict and patriarchal in its details but multilayered and flexible in its largest units. We learn, for example, of the Hamadryas' respect for possession that protects family structure and of the cohesion among family leaders that lessens the threat of battle. At the same time, clear-cut personalities emerge from Kummer's account, drawing us into the life stories and power struggles of individual baboons. Whereas this rich detail holds many implications for natural scientists, the colorful way it comes to life makes for a compelling book bound to entertain and educate all readers.Originally published in 1995.The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Princeton Univ Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9780691603360
  • ISBN: 0691603367
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Edition: Reprint
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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