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Zoological Research
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
ISSN: 2095-8137
Vol. 35, No. 3, 2014, pp. 222-230
Bioline Code: zr14026
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

Zoological Research, Vol. 35, No. 3, 2014, pp. 222-230

 en Male Tibetan macaques’ (Macaca thibetana check for this species in other resources ) choice of infant bridging partners
BAUER, Briana; SHEERAN, Lori K.; MATHESON, Megan D.; LI, Jin-Hua & WAGNER, R. Steven


Adult male Tibetan (Macaca thibetana check for this species in other resources ), Barbary (M. sylvanus check for this species in other resources ), and stump-tailed macaques (M. arctoides check for this species in other resources ) engage in bridging, a ritualized infant-handling behavior. Previous researchers found a bias toward the use of male infants for this behavior, but its function is debated. Explanations include three hypotheses: paternal care, mating effort, and agonistic buffering. We studied a group of habituated, provisioned Tibetan macaques to test whether adult males' affiliative relationships with females predicted their use of an infant for bridging. We also examined biases for sex, age, and individual in males' choice of bridging infant. We collected data via all occurrences, focal animal, and scan methods, from August to September 2011 at the Valley of the Wild Monkeys, China. We found that male infants were significantly preferred over females for bridging, but of three male infants in the group, only one was used by all males, while one male infant was used less often than expected. Adult males had females they were significantly more likely to be proximate to and/or to groom, but these corresponded to the mother of the bridging infant for only one male. Our results are most consistent with the agonistic buffering hypothesis: lower-ranked males used the alpha male's preferred bridging infant in an attempt to regulate their interactions with the alpha.

Agonistic buffering; Affiliated infant; Paternal care

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