International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 47–61 | Cite as

Fission-fusion social organization inAteles andPan

  • M. McFarland Symington
Article

Abstract

Recent research on the ecology and behavior of free-ranging spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus chamek) allows a more detailed comparison with the chimpanzee,Pan troglodytes, than has been possible previously. Despite their distant common ancestry, chimpanzees and spider monkeys share an unusual fission-fusion social system. In this paper, I compare subgroup size and composition, social unit structure, ranging behavior, patterns of philopatry and dispersal, and social relationships in the two taxa. It is proposed that spatial and temporal patchiness in food dispersion and abundance, resulting in a high-level of feeding competition between females within a group, has been the most important ecological selection pressure leading to the evolution of fission-fusion social organization in both species.

Key Words

fission-fusion social organization chimpanzee spider monkey ecology 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. McFarland Symington
    • 1
  1. 1.Biodiversity Support ProgramWorld Wildlife FundWashington, D.C.

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