Fitness-related benefits of dominance in primates

Majolo, Bonaventura, Lehmann, J., de Baroli Vizioli, A. and Schino, G. (2012) Fitness-related benefits of dominance in primates. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 147 (4). pp. 652-660. ISSN 0002-9483

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Fitness-related benefits of dominance in primates
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Dominance hierarchies are thought to provide various fitness-related benefits to dominant individuals (e.g., preferential access to food or mating partners). Remarkably, however, different studies on this topic have produced contradictory results, with some showing strong positive association between rank and fitness (i.e., dominants gain benefits over subordinates), others weak associations, and some others even revealing negative associations. Here, we investigate dominance-related benefits across primate species while controlling for phylogenetic effects. We extracted data from 94 published studies, representing 25 primate species (2 lemur species, 4 New World monkeys, 16 Old World monkeys, and 3 apes), to assess how dominance affects life-history and behavior. We used standard and phylogenetic meta-analyses to analyze the benefits of dominance in primates. Dominant females had higher infant survival to first year, although we found no significant effect of dominance on female feeding success. Results for female fecundity differed between the two meta-analytical approaches, with no effect of dominance on female fecundity after controlling for phylogeny. Dominant males had a higher fecundity and mating success than subordinate males. Finally, the benefits of dominance for female fecundity were stronger in species with a longer lifespan. Our study supports the view that dominance hierarchies are a key aspect of primate societies as they indeed provide a number of fitness-related benefits to individuals.

Keywords:dominance, feeding success, fecundity, mating, meta-analysis, phylogeny, rank, reproductive success
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C890 Psychology not elsewhere classified
C Biological Sciences > C390 Zoology not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
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ID Code:4928
Deposited On:28 Feb 2012 08:32

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