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Parental Behavior of Adult Male Japanese Monkeys

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Adult male parental behavior, very similar to that originally described by ITANI was observed in a troop of Japanese monkeys living in a large outdoor compound in Oregon. In the Oregon troop: i. Males' social interactions with the young go through two overlapping phases, one before and one after the birth of the year's new babies. Only the dominant males participate in the second phase which involves proximity with mothers and neonates. 2. Adult male Japanese macaque social behavior is strongly seasonal, and variations in male parental behavior are partly a ramification of a more general change in behavior. The view that the males' behavior is a response to distress produced in the young when the mother abandons them upon the birth of a newborn is not upheld by the Oregon data. 3. Male-young affiliative and play interactions are not likely to be an important contribution to the socialization of the young, since at all seasons the overwhelming majority of a young monkey's play and affiliative interactions are with his mother, siblings, and agemates. On the other hand, adult dominant males are responsible for virtually all of the attacks on a neonate under the age of 3 months. This may have an important effect on the social development of the young monkey.

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Reproductive Physiology and Behavior, Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, Beaverton, Oregon, Medical Psychology, University of Oregon Medical School, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.


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