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Degrees of freedom in social bonds of crested macaque females

Duboscq, J and Neumann, C and Agil, M and Perwitasari-Farajallah, D and Thierry, B and Engelhardt, A (2017) Degrees of freedom in social bonds of crested macaque females. Animal Behaviour, 123. pp. 411-426. ISSN 0003-3472

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Abstract

Social bonds between group members can affect individual fitness and well-being. While the impact of bond strength is well studied, the consequences of bond predictability and equitability are often overlooked. Similarly, whether bonds reflect short-term contingencies and/or long-term social strategies remains understudied. We investigated these questions in female crested macaques (Macaca nigra), which display a tolerant social style within a nepotistic hierarchical social structure. We analysed the structure of dyadic social bonds by testing whether similarity within dyads - in kinship, dominance and age - predicted the strength, predictability and equitability of bonds. We then tested the value of social bonds by analysing the effect of their characteristics on three fitness-related behaviours: coalitionary support, feeding-in-proximity and aggression. We found that the bond characteristics of females differed substantially from those of other species with comparable data: bonds were of average strength, of moderate endurance and relatively balanced. Stronger bonds were more equitable but less predictable than weaker bonds. Closely-ranked females, but not kin or age peers, had stronger, more predictable and more equitable bonds than others. Coalitionary support was not related to any of the bond characteristics, feeding-in-proximity was positively associated with strength and predictability and aggression was positively linked to strength and equitability. These results highlight the complex picture of the benefits of social bonds in this species. They reflect the degrees of freedom tolerant macaque females can express in their social relationships within their stable social structure, a pattern that may not be given enough consideration in stable nepotistic hierarchical societies. Comparative research is necessary to establish whether these patterns are more general than previously thought or a specific feature of tolerant macaques. Investigating various characteristics of bonds together is paramount in order to appreciate the dynamics of social relationships and to better understand the social components of fitness.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences, 07 Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences, 17 Psychology And Cognitive Sciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2016 08:16
Last Modified: 10 May 2017 10:35
DOI or Identification number: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.11.010
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3851

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