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Reconciliation in Male Stump-tailed Macaques (Macaca arctoides): Intolerant Males Care for Their Social Relationships



Claudio de la O, Facultad de Psicología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and Courant Research Centre Evolution of Social Behaviour, Georg August University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.



Recent research has shown that social relationships may exert positive effects on fitness. Therefore, it is expected that animals make efforts to develop and preserve close social bonds. Reconciliation is a conflict resolution mechanism, which allows buffering the negative effects of aggressive conflict on social relationships. As socioecological theories claim that intrasexual competition and conflict-shaped social interactions among macaque males, postconflict behaviour should reflect the effects of these evolutionary forces. Here, we present the results of a study on a provisioned group of Macaca arctoides in Thailand focusing exclusively on male postconflict behaviour. Through an Information Theory–Model Selection approach, we evaluated the relative support for three predictions about the occurrence of reconciliation and the quality of the opponents' social relationships. The strength of the opponents' affiliative relationship was the only variable predicting reconciliation occurrence. This agrees with the main prediction of the valuable relationship hypothesis for the function and distribution of reconciliation, which states that the opponents sharing high-quality relationships are more likely to reconcile, and this interaction is aimed to repair the disturbing effects of previous aggression on their relationship. The conciliatory tendency found among these wild males is much lower than reported previously for this species from captive conditions, matching more closely the rates reported for species with an intolerant-despotic dominance style. The results offer strong support for the importance of developing and preserving valuable relationships, even among rather intolerant males.