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Abstract

Primate social organisation is often considered to be more complex than that of ‘lower’ mammals. The dominance hierarchy, which is given especial emphasis in most studies of social species, has been criticised on the grounds that rank is poorly related to other aspects of social organisation. These two ideas were investigated in an enclosed group of red deer by looking at the relationships between four aspects of social organisation: the dominance hierarchy; social grooming behaviour; non-copulatory mounting behaviour; spatial organisation. The last three aspects have frequently been studied in primates, but rarely in ungulates.