, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 827-854
Date: 26 Jul 2006

Postconflict Affiliation Between Former Opponents in Macaca thibetana on Mt. Huangshan, China

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We describe basic patterns of postconflict affiliation between former opponents within a group of wild, provisioned Tibetan macaques Macaca thibetana on Mt. Huangshan, China. Like most primates studied to date, Tibetan macaques reconciled, i.e., overall they engaged in affiliative interaction with opponents at higher rates immediately after an aggressive conflict than at other times. Probabilities of affiliation were enhanced ≤30 s after the end of hostilities. However when we examined sex partner combinations separately, we found unequivocal evidence for reconciliation only for male-male dyads. Tolerant interaction among other partner combinations apparently was not disrupted after a conflict, presumably obviating the need to reconcile. One aspect of reconciliation among males was consistent with other indications of a despotic dominance style: aggressors initiated a higher proportion of affiliative interactions after a conflict than at other times. Another aspect of reconciliation was more typical of relaxed dominance styles: males used specialized behaviors (embraces and same-sex mounts) disproportionately to reconcile. We also found inconsistent evidence for the valuable relationship hypothesis; probabilities of reconciliation were enhanced for male-male dyads with the closest affiliative relationships, but not for those that displayed the most tolerance or mutual agonistic support. We discuss reconciliation and other aspects of conflict management among males in the context of a group with nearly even sex ratios and high male-male mating competition.