Specialization Course in Primate Behavior and Biology


Program Description

Reasons to do the course

The course offers quality training that allows to acquire and improve the knowledge and skills that are necessary to be able to carry out professional and research tasks and activities in the field of Primatology and related sciences.126301_primate-ape-thinking-mimic.jpg

Who is it for?

To university graduates and professionals of any scientific discipline who want to deepen the theoretical and practical knowledge of Primates Ethology and primatological research. More specifically, university graduates in Psychology, Biology, Veterinary, Anthropology ... or with a particular interest in the behavior of primates, cognition and their biological evolution as well as in the application of scientific knowledge. The course is also open to people who, without having a university degree, have an interest and motivation for nonhuman primates.

Admission requirements

The course is preferably recommended for people with a university degree. However, it is also open to anyone interested in improving their knowledge about nonhuman primates.


Primatology has become in recent years an emerging scientific discipline. Both from the Life Sciences and from the Human Sciences, the study of nonhuman primates is a reference to understand the development and evolution of the human species. Likewise, the study and knowledge of nonhuman primates is becoming a fundamental tool in the conservation of the tropical ecosystems where they live, their viability must be guaranteed due to their performance as "umbrella species". The general objective of the course is to offer quality training where students can acquire and / or improve their knowledge and skills necessary to carry out professional and research tasks and activities in the field of primatology and related sciences. The program offers an updated, dynamic and participatory theoretical approach that allows motivating the analytical, reflexive and critical capacity of students in subjects related to behavior, ethology and primate cognition.


The main objective is to acquire the basic knowledge and skills related to the behavior, well-being and cognition of nonhuman primates. The course program is based on a dynamic and participatory theoretical approach, where the analytical and reflexive capacity of students is motivated from an interdisciplinary and integrative point of view.

The main competences and skills that are intended to be developed are the following:

  1. Integrate knowledge and understanding of the biological foundations of animal and human behavior, and their psychological functions, both from a comparative and phylogenetic point of view.
  2. Interpret and reflect on the cognitive (physical and social) common mechanisms of chimpanzees and humans in their evolutionary context and from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  3. Know and integrate the main concepts related to human evolution and its application to the field of Primatology and Human Psychology.
  4. Value and appreciate the contributions that scientific research provides to professional knowledge and practice.
  5. Use the different documentary sources related to Primatology, show the necessary strategies to access the information and assess the need for the documentary update.

Professional outings

I work in recovery centers and other zoological centers. Environmental education, activism and conservation and animal welfare campaigns.


1. Basic concepts of ethology

  • Ethology and ethology of primates
  • Principles of study of animal behavior
  • The four basic questions in ethology
  • Analogy versus homology
  • Ethological disciplines

2. Biology and taxonomy

  • Phylogeny and evolution
  • The primate model
  • Taxonomy of current primates

3. Ecology of primate behavior

  • Habitat Distribution
  • Trophic behavior
  • Temporary activity budget
  • Spatial behavior
  • Anti-Predatory Strategies
  • Etoecology of primates in their natural habitat
  • Protection and conservation of nonhuman primates

4. Social behavior

  • Organization and social dynamics
  • Cooperation and reciprocity
  • Grooming
  • Competition, aggression and reconciliation

5. Cognitive and cultural aspects

  • The concept of animal intelligence
  • Types of learning
  • Communication
  • Language skills in primates
  • Quantitative capacity, memory and perception
  • Other complex cognitive processes
  • Other general cognitive abilities
  • Cultural behavior and instrumental behavior

6. Ontogenetic development and sexual behavior

  • Life cycles in primates
  • Playful behavior
  • Reproductive Strategies
  • Sexual behavior: mating systems
  • Sexual dimorphism

7. Ethological methodology

  • Phases of etoprimatological research
  • Development of behavior category systems
  • Registration Methods
  • Techniques to study the behavior of primates in their natural habitat
  • Preparation of a study

8. Human ethology

  • Concept and scope of study
  • Species-specific behaviors
  • Cross-cultural studies
  • Interspecific Studies
  • Social triggers


Specialization Course in Primate Behavior and Biology by the UdG Foundation: Innovation and Training


The students will be the real protagonists of the teaching and learning process. Your participation will be active and involved from the beginning of the course. The evaluation is continuous through a series of practical activities that will be carried out throughout the course: questionnaires, participation in debates, delivery of documents, etc. They will have at their disposal teaching materials, in the form of: lessons, readings, etc. Participation in forums (debates) will also be valued in which issues that will motivate joint reflection will be shared. Both the tutor of the course and coordination, will help at all times to respond to the objectives, needs and expectations.

Evaluation system

The evaluation consists in the delivery of practical activities and also in the participation in the different debates that will be proposed over the weeks. It will not be assessed through a final exam or final activity, but the evaluation is continuous from day one. The notes will be published during the course and the final, a few weeks after it ends.

Last updated November 2019

About the School

La Fundació Universitat de Girona: Innovació i Formació (FUdGIF) es la institución creada por la Universitat de Girona (UdG) para fomentar la investigación científica y la docencia en todos los ámbito ... Read More

La Fundació Universitat de Girona: Innovació i Formació (FUdGIF) es la institución creada por la Universitat de Girona (UdG) para fomentar la investigación científica y la docencia en todos los ámbitos de la Universitat de Girona, y estar al servicio de la sociedad de la que forma parte. Read less