, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 361-378

Dispersal, nepotism, and primate social behavior

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Abstract

High degrees of relatedness within primate social groups are thought to promote the evolution of altruistic behavior via kin selection. Dispersal, for whatever reason, should limit opportunities for nepotistic behaviors. Conversely, emigration is usually attributed to the avoidance of inbreeding depression. Actual dispersal patterns may result from a balance of these forces. Systematic behavioral differences are expected between taxa that differ in such patterns. In fact, comparisons of (a) colobines vs. cercopithecines, (b) bonnet, stumptailed, and Barbary macaques vs. Japanese and rhesus macaques, and (c) red vs. mantled howler monkeys yield a perplexing blend of unexplained differences and unmet theoretical expectations. Kin selection may be less important than generally believed, and/or methodological standardization more so.