The Influence of Age, Sex, and Rank on Yawning Behavior in Two Species of Macaques (Macaca fascicularis and M. fuscata)

Authors

  • Alfonso Troisi M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Roma
    2. Ethologie en Socio-oecologie, Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht
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  • Filippo Aureli,

    1. Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Roma
    2. Ethologie en Socio-oecologie, Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht
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  • Gabriele Schino,

    1. Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Roma
    2. Ethologie en Socio-oecologie, Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht
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  • Fabio Rinaldi,

    1. Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Roma
    2. Ethologie en Socio-oecologie, Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht
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  • Nicoletta de Angelis

    1. Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Università La Sapienza, Roma
    2. Ethologie en Socio-oecologie, Rijksuniversiteit, Utrecht
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Abstract

Yawning behavior was studied in two species of macaques: the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) and the Japanese macaque (M. fuscata). Japanese macaques yawned much more than long-tailed macaques. Age, sex, and dominance rank exerted different effects on yawning in the two species. In the long-tailed macaques, sex differences in frequency of yawning emerged only after sexual maturity; yawning rates increased significantly in both males and females as they reached sexual maturity; and, among males, dominance rank was positively correlated with frequency of yawning. Differently, in the Japanese macaques, males, both mature and immature, yawned more than same-aged females; sexual maturity was associated with an increase in yawning in males only; and male rank did not correlate with the frequency of yawning. Regardless of interspecific differences, the overall results supported only in part the finding that, in Old World monkeys, yawning is largely influenced by plasma concentrations of androgens. There was evidence that social factors were also important in influencing the age-sex class distribution of yawning.

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