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Title: The evolution of reconciliation with the primate order.
Author: Casperd, Julia Mountfort.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3524 7247
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1997
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Reconciliation, its nature and the factors driving its evolution within the Primate Order have been the subjects of academic deliberation since the advent of controlled, post-conflict research almost two decades ago. This thesis attempts to draw these thought processes together by using linear regression modelling in a heuristic exercise to tease out the main factors hypothesised as having fuelled the development and refinement of this behaviour through time. It employs the comparative method to control for phylogenetic inertia and uses empirical data from the literature on 21 species of monkeys and apes, from the four major taxonomic groups of non-human primates to test current evolutionary theory. A further hypothesis is also proposed (Social Function Hypothesis) which suggests that reconciliation evolved in response to individuals' need to protect and maintain the function of their social relationships with other group members. An index which reflects the degree of social function found within groups is developed in order to test this hypothesis. The results of this comparative analysis revealed two significant and robust models in which two continuous variables alone (neocortex size and the index of social function), were found to predict the current distribution of reconciliation within the Primate Order. The first model provided compelling evidence in support of the Social Function Hypothesis and for the Good Relationship Hypothesis (Aureli et al., 1989; de Waal, 1986a), in so far as highly functional relationships can be viewed as having a greater intrinsic value than less functional ones. The second model, whilst still supporting the aforementioned hypotheses, appears to undermine the validity of the Minimum Cognitive Capacity Hypothesis (Gallup, 1982). However, alternative interpretations of the results of this model are discussed which prove compatible with the predictions of this hypothesis. The second part of this work explores the characteristics of social networks within a captive group of chimpanzees housed at Chester Zoo (N=19 adults and subadults). It develops a number of measures of relationship function based on social grooming and agonistic support and uses these to assess the quality of different social relationships. According to these measures, valuable relationships within the group were identified as those between: kin; males; males and females; low ranking individuals; high ranking individuals; and medium and high ranking individuals. This information was then used to investigate the nature and expression of direct operational reconciliation using a large sample of isolated dyadic conflicts (N=1220). The overall conciliatory tendency for the species varied with the type and level of analysis, as well as with factors such as the presence of oestrous females, conflict intensity, sex and relationship function. Kinship and relationship value were not found to be reliable predictors of reconciliation frequency. The characteristics of initiators, behavioural specificity of first post-conflict contacts and the factors influencing latencies to these contacts are also discussed. Lastly, the chimpanzee is used as a model species to provide a proximate test of the main theories on the evolution of reconciliation. The results of this piece of research show that, once again, relationship function provides the most accurate predictor of the frequency distribution of reconciliation among dyads in this model species. These findings are discussed in relation to the definition and measurement of reconciliation, the evolution of reconciliation and sociality, and the future of post-conflict research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Zoology