Way back when people used to recommend formula-feeding (over breastfeeding), isolating babies in their own rooms to sleep, and putting mothers under general anesthesia for a birth, I imagine the idea was to make the whole procedure more clinical, hence more scientific. Now all of the sciency-types are looking to hunter-gatherer societies and even other primates to get ideas for the best ways of raising human babies.
Personally, I just got done reading Parenting for Primates, by Harriet J. Smith (primatologist and psychologist), and wrote up my reactons in a little article here for Rational Moms.
The picture above is one I found while looking through old photos to find one of me with baby Léo strapped on in a baby pouch. That's Léo and his daddy. (Dang, babies are cute, aren't they?)
Then, to make up for the fact that every time I talk about primates I end up just talking about humans, I'll add that I've also recently read Among Orangutans by Carel Van Schaik -- a researcher at the university right here in Zurich!
This is a gorgeous book filled with stunning photos (by Perry Van Duijnhoven) of orangutans in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra.
Just because this looks like a coffee-table book doesn't mean it's a lightweight, though. This book outlines the latest information about orangutans, including some surprises like the fact that (when the environment is favorable) orangutans are far more social and less solitary than previously thought. Also, the author uses the orangutan example to outline a theory about ape intelligence. Primatologists commonly talk about the importance of abstract thinking for improving one's social rank (the machiavellian theory of intelligence). Carel Van Schaik proposes a related (but slightly different) idea that abstract thinking is critical for (cultural) learning about where and when to find food and how to get it.