, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 83-107

The ontogeny of sex differences in the behavior of patas monkeys

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Abstract

Many studies of sex differences in primates have been based on small experimental groups of peers in which only a limited range of social behavior could be expressed. In addition, the first few months of life are often the focus of such studies, with relatively little attention paid to older juveniles. In this study, 11 male and 9 female juvenile patas monkeys, living in a captive social group with all age-sex classes available, were observed between 1 and 4 years of age. A subset of seven patas monkeys was also observed between birth and 1 year of age. Here, we report the development of sex differences in independence, play, grooming, positioning behavior, and aggression over the juvenile period. Juvenile male patas monkeys played more and in longer bouts than females, but wrestling (rough-and-tumble play) was not more common among males. There were few differences in behaviors directed to male and female juveniles by other group members. Distinct differences emerged only in the behaviors of the juveniles themselves, with females being more active participants in social and aggressive interactions than males. In general, sex differences in patas monkeys show a mixture of patterns, some of which are predictive of adult sex differences and some of which appear to be specific to the particular demands of the juvenile period in this species