, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 1283-1312

Dominance Style Among Macaca thibetana on Mt. Huangshan, China

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Abstract

The dominance style concept has proven useful for understanding covariation patterns in relationship qualities, particularly among macaques. However, the dominance styles of many macaques, including Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana), have not been examined in detail. We describe patterns of bidirectionality of aggression, postconflict affiliation and kin bias in a group of wild, but provisioned Tibetan macaques over a 2-yr period in order make an initial assessment of their dominance style. Bidirectional aggression, including percentage of counteraggression (1.9%), and conciliatory tendencies (6.4%) were consistently low across partner combinations, seasons and locations (forest vs. provisioning area). In addition, females consistently displayed high levels of kin bias in affiliation and tolerance. Compared with macaque species with better known dominance styles, the Tibetan data generally fell within the range for despotic species and outside the range for relaxed species. Although other researchers have tentatively classified them as tolerant or relaxed, we conclude that Tibetan macaques display a despotic dominance style. This conclusion poses complications to explanations based both on phylogenetic inertia and socio-ecological models.