Exploring Juvenile Relationships: A comparison between the behavior of orphan and non-orphan rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

Eric Lal

Abstract

It has been observed in most species of female-bonded hierarchical primates that females inherit their social ranking from their mother, ranking just below them. However, motherless rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) in captivity must also establish a position in the social group. This study compares the behavior of orphan and non-orphan one-year-old rhesus macaques to determine if orphaned macaques have an unstable position in their colony. I hypothesize that if orphans display different behaviors than non-orphans, this aspect of their life history could be used as a predictor for their role in the social group later in life. The data show a difference between the social interactions of orphan and non-orphan rhesus macaques dependent on the juvenile’s sex.

Download the complete paper (PDF)