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Keywords:

  • neotropical primates;
  • social organization;
  • troop fragmentation;
  • fission-fusion;
  • primate cognition

Abstract

Greater intraspecific and intrageneric variability exists in the social organization of platyrrhine primates than has previously been recognized. Although this is most marked and already recognized in the callitrichins, it also appears in many other neotropical species. One area of striking variability is the degree of troop fragmentation. Fission-fusion and cohesion are ends of a continuum of social organizations in which troop fragmentation is greatest among the former and least among the latter. Troop fragmentation appears to be a facultative adjustment to environmental, demographic, and social conditions among New World primates. A hallmark of the non-monogamous platyrrhines, and possibly of all neotropical primates, is flexibility in their social systems, and the occurrence, to a greater or lesser extent, of troop fragmentation. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.