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Durability and flexibility of chimpanzee grooming patterns during a period of dominance instability

Koyama, NF, Ronkainen, K and Aureli, F Durability and flexibility of chimpanzee grooming patterns during a period of dominance instability. American Journal of Primatology. ISSN 0275-2565 (Accepted)

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Growing evidence from studies on primates and other taxa has shown that the maintenance of long-term affiliative patterns influences fitness. Thus, understanding how individuals regulate social interactions in response to environmental and social factors contributes to our understanding of the evolutionary basis of sociality. We investigated the durability of affiliation patterns in chimpanzees across three 3-month periods of varying social uncertainty depending on the degree of stability in the male hierarchy, with a 2-yr gap between each period. Periods were unstable (no clear alpha male), recently stable (new alpha male just established) and stable (alpha male in place for two years). We focused on three features of social exchange shared by human and non-human primates: consistency of exchanges across periods, durability of preferred partners, and degree of reciprocity in each period. We compared male-to-male, female-to-female, male-to-female and female-to-male grooming patterns. Overall, more grooming was exchanged in the stable period. Grooming patterns were not consistent across the three periods, but were only consistent between the recently stable and stable periods for female-to-female and male-to-female dyads. As predicted from the opportunistic nature of male relationships, male-to-male grooming was least likely to be correlated across all periods and males had relatively fewer durable (i.e., preferred partners in all periods) same-sex partners than females. Our predictions that grooming reciprocity would be less likely during the unstable period and in male-male dyads were only partially supported. We found grooming reciprocity in all periods for female-female dyads but only in the stable period for male-male and female-male dyads. Although long-term affiliative patterns are well studied in primates, this is the first study to investigate the association between social uncertainty and durability of affiliative patterns. Our findings suggest social uncertainty influences social exchange and highlight the importance of considering group instability in studies of social relationships.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0608 Zoology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2017 10:29
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2017 10:29
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7229

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