Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Summer 2016

Abstract

Social hierarchies serve similar functions in various primate species, particularly with regard to social order and dominance maintenance. Differences in dominance style elicit unique patterns of social behavior among female non-human primates. While some females aggressively assert their dominance, others inherit their rank or engage in various affiliative behaviors to increase their status. Furthermore, differences in dominance maintenance and hierarchal stability produce varying degrees of stress and agonistic behavior among female primates. The present study examined whether differences in rank influenced the expression of affiliative, agonistic, and stress-related behaviors, among a group of adult female green monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus). A three-week, naturalistic observational study was conducted at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve in Barbados, West Indies. Researchers collected 30 hours of focal observations on 7 adult females. A series of independent samples t-tests were conducted to identify differences in affiliative, agonistic, and stress-related behaviors between high (n=4) and low ranking animals (n=3). There were no significant difference between high and low ranking animals. However, strong effect sizes were obtained for both aggressive and affiliative behaviors, with high ranking animals exhibiting higher rates of these behaviors towards other animals. Together, these findings suggest that rank may be associated with the social interactions of adult female green monkeys, but a larger sample size would need to be utilized to confirm this. Our results concur with Rowell’s (1974) findings which suggest that initiators of agonistic behavior among despotic, adult female green monkeys typically have high ranks.

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