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Does Participation in Coalitions Influence Dominance Relationships Among Male Bonnet Macaques?

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DE WAAL (1982) has observed that male chimpanzees use coalitions to manipulate the ranks of their rivals and enhance their own dominance relationships. Here, I investigate the possibility that male bonnet macaques, who frequently intervened in contest among unrelated adult males, also used coalitions to alter their own dominance relationships and/or manipulate the dominance positions of other males. Male bonnet macaques frequently form coalitions in support of other males. Although the rank ordering among males changed during the study period, coalitions did not seem to consistently influence the rank of males who received support or the ranks of males who provided support. Coalitions did not systematically support or disrupt the established dominance order, as males consistently supported initiators against recipients. The tendency to support initiatiors was influenced to some extent by the outcome of the original encounter and the rank order among the opponent. Thus, these data provide no systematic support for the hypothesis that males achieved consistent political objectives when they participated in coalitions.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, SILK


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