Brief report: Outbreak of severe aggression in captive Macaca mulatta

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Abstract

An outbreak of severe aggression occurred among females in a rhesus macaque breeding group at the California Primate Research Center four years after the group was established. During the breeding season in which this occurred, the incidence of injured females in other breeding groups at the Primate Center was significantly higher than in the previous year. This breeding season was the first in which a large number of females reached sexual maturity. The group in which the most severe aggression occurred contained the largest number and proportion of maturing females. Evidence suggests that the simultaneous maturation of a large cohort of adolescent females may be associated with increased levels of aggression, and that this aggression may be intensified by certain aspects of captivity.

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