, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 531-553

Social structure, infant handling, and mothering styles in group-living old world monkeys

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I argue that in Old World monkeys, infant handling by individuals other than the mother is a heterogeneous phenomenon in structural and functional terms; species differences in maternal tolerance of infant handling are related to differences in the relative proportion of abusive to affiliative responses made to infants by adult females other than the mother; and infant handling by adult females is related to the species-typical social structure, with particular reference to social relationships among females and patterns of food competition. I apply the proposed relationship among social structure, infant handling, and mothering style to explain the observed variation in mothering styles between and within the subfamilies Colobinae and Cercopithecinae.