Patterns of affiliation among immature rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta)

Authors

  • Carolyn L. Ehardt,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Athropology, University of Georgia, Athens
    2. The Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta
    • Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
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  • Irwin S. Bernstein

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens
    2. The Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center of Emory University, Atlanta
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Abstract

The affiliative interaction patterns of the immature members of a group of rhesus monkeys at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center reflected a strong bias toward matrilineal kin, although this effect was modified by age and sex variables. Association with kin decreased with age, particularly for males. Juvenile males showed less of a kin bias in their behavior than did juvenile females, especially for grooming. Juvenile males also exhibited a preference for interaction with other males. The diminished association with kin and the same-sex bias may be reinforced in adolescence as adult males begin to aggressively target adolescent males involved in agonistic encounters with females or immatures. Adolescent males did not decrease their levels of social interaction relative to those of adolescent females; however, these males preferentially associated with other males (predominantly their own age-sex class) and specifically avoided females and younger animals, both kin and nonkin. Avoidance may diminish conflicts with females or immatures which could result from association, thereby decreasing the potential for selective aggressive interference by adult males. Juvenile and adolescent females maintained strong ties with their kin and preferentially associated with other females and immatures. The breadth of interaction of females with other females may facilitate the establishment of dominance relationships as females mature. Familiarity and predictability may also decrease the necessity of more severe agonistic interaction.

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