A territorial behaviour found in the higher primates. As the name suggests, it consists of occupying a position on the outskirts of one's territory and assuming postures and behaviours designed to convince any would-be intruders that the territory is already fully occupied.

The classic example is the chest-beating exhibited by some apes, as in the riverside boundary-posturing scene in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

It is possible some more esoteric forms of this exist in the human sphere.

For example, I once read a paper which studied the numbers of various different kinds of scientists who were religious. Physicists were the most religious, at about 30 percent, then chemists, then biologists and so on, up the reductionist hierarchy of disciplines. Least religious of all were the social psychologists and sociologists, at around 2-3 percent.

The authors of the paper took this to indicate boundary posturing by the sociologically motivated, seeking to defend their intellectual territory against competition from theologians and priests.

I am sure there is significant work to be done on boundary posturing and Usenet.

See also: social grooming

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