Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection

Göttingen, Germany

Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection

Göttingen, Germany
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Engelhardt A.,Liverpool John Moores University | Engelhardt A.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Engelhardt A.,University of Gottingen | Muniz L.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Primatology | Year: 2017

Genetic analyses based on noninvasively collected samples have become an important tool for evolutionary biology and conservation. Crested macaques (Macaca nigra), endemic to Sulawesi, Indonesia, are important for our understanding of primate evolution as Sulawesi macaques represent an exceptional example of primate adaptive radiation. Crested macaques are also Critically Endangered. However, to date we know very little about their genetics. The aim of our study was to find and validate microsatellite markers useful for evolutionary, conservation, and other genetic studies on wild crested macaques. Using fecal samples of 176 wild macaques living in the Tangkoko Reserve, Sulawesi, we identified 12 polymorphic microsatellite loci through cross-species polymerase chain reaction amplification with later modification of some of these primers. We tested their suitability by investigating and exploring patterns of paternity, observed heterozygosity, and evidence for inbreeding. We assigned paternity to 63 of 65 infants with high confidence. Among cases with solved paternity, we found no evidence of extragroup paternity and natal breeding. We found a relatively steep male reproductive skew B index of 0.330 ± 0.267; mean ± SD) and mean alpha paternity of 65% per year with large variation across groups and years (29–100%). Finally, we detected an excess in observed heterozygosity and no evidence of inbreeding across our three study groups, with an observed heterozygosity of 0.766 ± 0.059 and expected heterozygosity of 0.708 ± 0.059, and an inbreeding coefficient of −0.082 ± 0.035. Our results indicate that the selected markers are useful for genetic studies on wild crested macaques, and possibly also on other Sulawesi and closely related macaques. They further suggest that the Tangkoko population of crested macaques is still genetically variable despite its small size, isolation, and the species’ reproductive patterns. This gives us hope that other endangered primate species living in small, isolated populations may also retain a healthy gene pool, at least in the short term. © 2017 The Author(s)


Dubuc C.,University of Montréal | Dubuc C.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Dubuc C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Hughes K.D.,Yale University | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2012

Food sharing among nonkin-one of the most fascinating cooperative behaviors in humans-is not widespread in nonhuman primates. Over the past few years, a large body of work has investigated the contexts in which primates cooperate and share food with unrelated individuals. This work has successfully demonstrated that species-specific differences in temperament constrain the extent to which food sharing emerges in experimental situations, with despotic species being less likely to share food than tolerant ones. However, little experimental work has examined the contexts that promote food sharing and cooperation within a species. Here, we examine whether one salient reproductive context-the consortship dyad-can allow the necessary social tolerance for co-feeding to emerge in an extremely despotic species, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). We gave naturally formed male-female rhesus macaque pairs access to a monopolizable food site in the free-ranging population at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico. Using this method, we were able to show that tolerated co-feeding between unrelated adults can take place in this despotic species. Specifically, our results show that consort pairs co-fed at the experimental food site more than nonconsort control pairs, leading females to obtain more food in this context. These results suggest that co-feeding is possible even in the most despotic of primate species, but perhaps only in contexts that specifically promote the necessary social tolerance. Researchers might profit from exploring whether other kinds of within-species contexts could also generate cooperative behaviors. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Dubuc C.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Dubuc C.,University of Montréal | Dubuc C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Dubuc C.,University of Gottingen | And 6 more authors.
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology | Year: 2011

In mammals, when females are clumped in space, male access to receptive females is usually determined by a dominance hierarchy based on fighting ability. In polygynandrous primates, as opposed to most mammalian species, the strength of the relationship between male social status and reproductive success varies greatly. It has been proposed that the degree to which paternity is determined by male rank decreases with increasing female reproductive synchrony. The priority-of-access model (PoA) predicts male reproductive success based on female synchrony and male dominance rank. To date, most tests of the PoA using paternity data involved nonseasonally breeding species. Here, we examine whether the PoA explains the relatively low reproductive skew in relation to dominance rank reported in the rhesus macaque, a strictly seasonal species. We collected behavioral, genetic, and hormonal data on one group of the free-ranging population on Cayo Santiago (Puerto Rico) for 2 years. The PoA correctly predicted the steepness of male reproductive skew, but not its relationship to male dominance: the most successful sire, fathering one third of the infants, was high but not top ranking. In contrast, mating success was not significantly skewed, suggesting that other mechanisms than social status contributed to male reproductive success. Dominance may be less important for paternity in rhesus macaques than in other primate species because it is reached through queuing rather than contest, leading to alpha males not necessarily being the strongest or most attractive male. More work is needed to fully elucidate the mechanisms determining paternity in rhesus macaques. © 2011 The Author(s).


Micheletta J.,University of Portsmouth | Micheletta J.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Engelhardt A.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Engelhardt A.,University of Gottingen | And 3 more authors.
American Journal of Primatology | Year: 2013

Primates' communicative signals are often dynamic and composed of multiple components, sometimes belonging to different sensory modalities. Such multicomponent signals are of crucial importance in the study of communication: the addition of extra features to a signal has the potential to modulate or change the meaning and message of the specific signal. Traditionally, however, components of compound signals are studied in isolation from each other, or communicative displays are studied as static and invariant wholes. Both approaches may not allow us to assess the full function of the signals. In crested macaques (Macaca nigra), the lipsmack (a display mainly used in affiliative interactions) can be produced alone or combined with other visual and acoustic communicative features. We investigated whether the composition of the lipsmack influenced the outcome of social interaction while controlling for relationship quality. Our results show that lipsmacks composed of both visual and vocal components (i.e. multimodal signals) increased the probability of affiliative contact, and therefore have enhanced signal value. The total number of visual components involved in the display had no effect but some visual components seemed more influential than others. By analyzing lipsmacking behavior as a composite, dynamic display, we were able to reveal a level of complexity that is not apparent when looking at each component separately. The results highlight the importance of a more integrative, multimodal approach to the study of primate communication. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Neumann C.,Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection | Neumann C.,University of Gottingen | Neumann C.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | Neumann C.,University of Leipzig | And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Animal personalities, i.e. consistent differences in behavior across time and/or context, have received increased attention of behavioral biologists over the last years. Recent research shows that personalities represent traits on which natural and sexual selection work and which can have substantial fitness consequences. The aim of this study is to establish the personality structure of crested macaque (Macaca nigra) males as foundation for future studies on its adaptive value. We collected behavioral data through focal animal sampling and additionally conducted two sets of playback experiments. Results of a factor analysis on the behavioral data revealed a four factor structure with components we labeled Anxiety, Sociability, Connectedness and Aggressiveness. Results from the experiments revealed an additional and independent Boldness factor but the absence of Neophilia. Overall, this structure resembles other macaque and animal species with the exception of Connectedness, which might be a consequence of the species' tolerant social style. Our results thus not only form the basis for future studies on the adaptive value of personality in crested macaques but also contribute an important data point for investigating the evolution of personality structure from a comparative perspective by refining, for example, which personality factors characterized the last common ancestor of hominids and macaques. © 2013 Neumann et al.


PubMed | Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Hormones and behavior | Year: 2012

In contrast to most mammalian species, female sexual activity is not limited to the fertile phase of the ovarian cycle in anthropoid primates, which has long been proposed to conceal the timing of ovulation to males. It is now generally believed that females are still most attractive during the fertile phase, leading to high-ranking males successfully mate-guarding them specifically during this period. While studies conducted in species exhibiting exaggerated sexual swellings (probabilistic signal of the fertile phase) have generally supported this hypothesis, mixed support comes from others. Here, we investigated whether high-ranking males timed mate-guarding effort towards female fertile phases in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). In this species, adult females do not exhibit sexual swellings, but undergo facial skin colour variation, an alternative oestrogen-dependent graded-signal of female reproductive status. We collected behavioural, hormonal and genetic paternity data during two mating seasons for one group of the free-ranging population of Cayo Santiago. Our results show that mate-guarding by top-ranking males did not completely cover the entire female fertile phase and that this tactic accounted for only 30-40% of all fertilisations observed. Males tended to prolong mate-guarding into the luteal phase (null probability of fertilisation), which mirrors the pattern of male attraction to female facial colour reported in an earlier study. These findings suggest that males may have limited knowledge regarding the exact timing of females fertile phase in rhesus macaques, which presumably allows females to gain more control over reproduction relative to other anthropoid primate species.


PubMed | Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2013

Animal personalities, i.e. consistent differences in behavior across time and/or context, have received increased attention of behavioral biologists over the last years. Recent research shows that personalities represent traits on which natural and sexual selection work and which can have substantial fitness consequences. The aim of this study is to establish the personality structure of crested macaque (Macaca nigra) males as foundation for future studies on its adaptive value. We collected behavioral data through focal animal sampling and additionally conducted two sets of playback experiments. Results of a factor analysis on the behavioral data revealed a four factor structure with components we labeled Anxiety, Sociability, Connectedness and Aggressiveness. Results from the experiments revealed an additional and independent Boldness factor but the absence of Neophilia. Overall, this structure resembles other macaque and animal species with the exception of Connectedness, which might be a consequence of the species tolerant social style. Our results thus not only form the basis for future studies on the adaptive value of personality in crested macaques but also contribute an important data point for investigating the evolution of personality structure from a comparative perspective by refining, for example, which personality factors characterized the last common ancestor of hominids and macaques.

Loading Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection collaborators
Loading Junior Research Group of Primate Sexual Selection collaborators