The Function of Mounts in Free-Ranging Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus)

Anza, Simone, Majolo, Bonaventura and Amici, Federica (2021) The Function of Mounts in Free-Ranging Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus). International Journal of Primatology, 42 . pp. 426-441. ISSN 0164-0291

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-021-00210-w

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The Function of Mounts in Free-Ranging Barbary Macaques (Macaca sylvanus)
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Abstract

Generally, non-reproductive sex is thought to act as “social grease”, facilitating peaceful co-existence between subjects who lack close genetic ties. However, specifc non-reproductive sexual behaviors may fulfill different functions. With this study, we aimed to test whether non-reproductive mounts in Barbary macaques are used to: (i) assert dominance, (ii) reinforce social relationships, and/or (iii) solve conflicts. We analyzed non-reproductive mounts (N = 236) and post-mount behavior in both aggressive and non-aggressive contexts, in 118 individuals belonging to two semi free-ranging groups at La Montagne des Singes (France). As predicted by the dominance assertion hypothesis, the probability to be the mounter increased with rank difference, especially in aggressive contexts (increasing from 0.066 to 0.797 in non-aggressive contexts, and from 0.011 to 0.969 in aggressive contexts, when the rank difference was minimal vs. maximal). The strength of the social bond did not significantly predict the proportion of mounts across dyads in non-aggressive contexts, providing no support for the relationship reinforcement hypothesis. Finally, in support of the conflict resolution hypothesis, when individuals engaged in post-conflict mounts, (i) the probability of being involved in further aggression decreased from 0.825 to 0.517, while (ii) the probability of being involved in grooming interactions with each other increased from 0.119 to 0.606. The strength of the social bond between former opponents had no significant effect on grooming occurrence and agonistic behavior after post-conflict-mounts. Overall, our findings suggest that non-reproductive mounts in Barbary macaques have different functions that are not affected by the strength of the social bond.

Keywords:Barbary macaque, Social behaviour
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:46576
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 11:39

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