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Title: Coalitions and social dynamics of a semi-free ranging Cebus apella group
Author: Ferreira, R. C.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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In this work, the social dynamics and the dynamics of coalitionary behaviour observed in a semi-free provisioned group of Cebus apella were used to explore predictions of socio-ecological models regarding the formation and organisation of social groups, and the hypothesis that complexity of social life is pressure to enlarged brain. In accordance to socio-ecological models but in contrast to accepted classification of C. apella, the group was not matrilinally organised, consequence of the prevalence of scramble type of food competition. The group hierarchy had a clear alpha male, an alpha female, and was age-size based for the rest of the group. The rank of infants did not correlate with the rank of their mothers. Again indicating the non-matrilineal organisation, females did not tend to be closer to each other or to their relatives, but rather the alpha male and dependent infants were most the attractive members of the group. Grooming was defined as a multifunctional behaviour, indicating both tolerance and affiliation for different dyads. Grooming occurred down the hierarchy and the alpha female was the most active groomer. More importantly, amount of grooming exchanged between dyads did not influence coalitionary behaviour. Although infrequent, opportunistic conservative and ambivalent coalitions did occur in conflicts involving adults, suggesting its strategic use. In the Main group, most of third party interference in aggressive events was protective, with the alpha male supporting immatures against other adult males. It is suggested that a mild form of male-male sexual competition influences the social organisation of C. apella, with females clustering around an alpha male to obtain benefits from his protective abilities and tolerance. Finally, it is suggested that for a large brained species with wide dietary variability as C. apella, social organisation may be variable and flexible, and to reflect a continuum rather than discrete categories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available