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Duboscq J.,Junior Research Group for Primate Sexual Selection | Duboscq J.,University of Gottingen | Duboscq J.,University of Strasbourg | Agil M.,Bogor Agricultural University | And 3 more authors.
Animal Behaviour | Year: 2013

Aggression can generate anxiety, create uncertainty about its aftermath and jeopardise social relationships. Postconflict interactions serve as conflict management strategies to mitigate these consequences. Whereas postconflict interactions are well characterized in many animals, their functions are still insufficiently investigated. Four functional hypotheses have been proposed: stress reduction, relationship repair, self-protection and benign intent. We aimed to test these hypotheses in females of a tolerant macaque species, the crested macaque, Macaca nigra, under natural conditions, for three postconflict interactions: reconciliation, affiliation and aggression with third parties. Our results provide meaningful contrasts compared with findings in other species. We found no evidence that aggression had consequences for individuals' behavioural indicators of anxiety, although it increased the likelihood of secondary aggression with third parties. There was little evidence for the stress reduction hypothesis as the occurrence of any of the three postconflict interactions investigated had little effect on the measured behavioural indicators of anxiety. Conflict and dyad characteristics also had limited influence on anxiety. The relationship repair function was only partly validated: dyads with stronger bonds or that exchanged more support did not reconcile more often, but dyads with attributes related to the symmetry, stability and predictability (i.e. security) within relationships did. Patterns of initiation and directionality of postconflict interactions in this study population suggest that reconciliation may constitute the signalling of appeasement and benign intent. Furthermore, we found that aggression towards third parties may serve as a source of self-protection and reassertion of the females' social status. The distinctive pattern of postconflict management strategies revealed in wild female crested macaques appears to be related to their typically tolerant social style. These results demonstrate the usefulness of concomitantly studying aggression, postconflict interactions and their functions, to understand conflict management strategies comprehensively, while taking into account the level of social tolerance characterizing the studied society. © 2013 The Authors.

Duboscq J.,Junior Research Group for Primate Sexual Selection | Duboscq J.,University of Gottingen | Duboscq J.,University of Strasbourg | Micheletta J.,Junior Research Group for Primate Sexual Selection | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013

In primates, females typically drive the evolution of the social system and present a wide diversity of social structures. To understand this diversity, it is necessary to document the consistency and/or flexibility of female social structures across and within species, contexts, and environments. Macaques (Macaca sp.) are an ideal taxon for such comparative study, showing both consistency and variation in their social relations. Their social styles, constituting robust sets of social traits, can be classified in four grades, from despotic to tolerant. However, tolerant species are still understudied, especially in the wild. To foster our understanding of tolerant societies and to assess the validity of the concept of social style, we studied female crested macaques, Macaca nigra, under entirely natural conditions. We assessed their degree of social tolerance by analyzing the frequency, intensity, and distribution of agonistic and affiliative behaviors, their dominance gradient, their bared-teeth display, and their level of conciliatory tendency. We also analyzed previously undocumented behavioral patterns in grade 4 macaques: reaction upon approach and distribution of affiliative behavior across partners. We compared the observed patterns to data from other populations of grade 4 macaques and from species of other grades. Overall, female crested macaques expressed a tolerant social style, with low intensity, frequently bidirectional, and reconciled conflicts. Dominance asymmetry was moderate, associated with an affiliative bared-teeth display. Females greatly tolerated one another in close proximity. The observed patterns matched the profile of other tolerant macaques and were outside the range of patterns of more despotic species. This study is the first comprehensive analysis of females' social behavior in a tolerant macaque species under natural conditions and as such, contributes to a better understanding of macaque societies. It also highlights the relevance of the social style concept in the assessment of the degree of tolerance/despotism in social systems. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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