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Mother-Infant Relationships in Three Species of Macaques (Macaca Mulatta, M. Nemestrina, M. Arctoides). I. Development of the Mother-Infant Relationship in the First Three Months

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This study compared mother-infant relationships in rhesus, pigtail, and stumptail macaques living in large captive social groups. Mother-infant pairs were focally observed in 4 weekly 30-min sessions for the first 12 weeks of infant life. Rhesus and stumptail infants were active earlier than pigtail infants, and rhesus mothers further encouraged infant independence by frequently breaking contact with them and rejecting them. Rhesus mothers also restrained their infants, presumably in circumstances where a danger for them was perceived. Pigtail mothers were more protective than rhesus mothers and not as encouraging of infant independence as rhesus mothers. Stumptail mothers scored low on both protectiveness and rejection measures. The functional significance of some differences in mother-infant relationships is tentatively explained on the basis of reproductive, ecological, and social characteristics of rhesus, pigtail, and stumptail macaques. Data on scratching behavior support the hypothesis that behavioral differences among macaque species are associated, at the proximate level, with differences in temperament or emotional reactivity.

Affiliations: 1: (Department of Psychology and Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, Emory Univer-sity, 2409 Taylor Lane, Lawrenceville, GA 30243, U.S.A.


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