, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 145-150

First online:

Grooming in primates: Implications for its utilitarian function

  • Michael HutchinsAffiliated withDepartments of Psychology & Anthropology, University of Washington
  • , David P. BarashAffiliated withDepartments of Psychology & Zoology, University of Washington

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Captive lion-tailed macaques, ring-tailed lemurs and Celebes black “apes” performed relatively more social grooming of areas which are inaccessible to self-grooming. Combined with considerable circumstantial evidence, this suggests that primate grooming may subserve real utilitarian functions in parasite removal, in addition to its acknowledged social functions.