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Age/sex differences in third-party rank relationship knowledge in wild vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus


Borgeaud, Christèle; Alvino, Morgane; van Leeuwen, Kelly; Townsend, Simon W; Bshary, Redouan (2015). Age/sex differences in third-party rank relationship knowledge in wild vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus. Animal Behaviour, 102:277-284.

Abstract

In mammals it has been proposed that complex social environments have selected for sophisticated social strategies. Third-party and more specifically third-party rank relationship knowledge is an important requirement for such strategies, especially in species with a strict hierarchy such as primates. Previous research has demonstrated that female vervet monkeys know the entire female hierarchy within their group, suggesting a detailed knowledge of their surrounding social world. What remains unclear, however, is the extent and detail of such social knowledge in other age/sex classes. We used the same experimental design to test whether females and males also keep track of each other's hierarchy and whether juveniles know about the female hierarchy. Our results suggest that females know about the male hierarchy but that males and juveniles seem to lack such knowledge regarding the female hierarchy. This indicates sex and developmental differences in the extent of social knowledge and especially third-party rank relationship knowledge in vervet monkeys. As a consequence, sophisticated social strategies may most likely be found in adult females in this species.

Abstract

In mammals it has been proposed that complex social environments have selected for sophisticated social strategies. Third-party and more specifically third-party rank relationship knowledge is an important requirement for such strategies, especially in species with a strict hierarchy such as primates. Previous research has demonstrated that female vervet monkeys know the entire female hierarchy within their group, suggesting a detailed knowledge of their surrounding social world. What remains unclear, however, is the extent and detail of such social knowledge in other age/sex classes. We used the same experimental design to test whether females and males also keep track of each other's hierarchy and whether juveniles know about the female hierarchy. Our results suggest that females know about the male hierarchy but that males and juveniles seem to lack such knowledge regarding the female hierarchy. This indicates sex and developmental differences in the extent of social knowledge and especially third-party rank relationship knowledge in vervet monkeys. As a consequence, sophisticated social strategies may most likely be found in adult females in this species.

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1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:April 2015
Deposited On:31 Dec 2015 07:24
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:48
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0003-3472
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.02.006

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