Animal Cognition

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1159–1169 | Cite as

Mandrills represent their own dominance hierarchy on a cardinal, not ordinal, scale

  • Gabriele SchinoEmail author
  • Francesca Lasio
Original Paper


Attempts to measure dominance relationships using cardinal, rather than ordinal ranks have a long history. Nevertheless, it is still unclear if cardinal dominance ranks have an impact on the life of animals. In particular, no information is available on how individual group living animals represent their own dominance hierarchy. This can be investigated testing whether cardinal rank differences affect how animals interact with different group mates. In this study, we evaluated how mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) interacted with group mates in relation to differences in cardinal ranks while controlling for differences in ordinal ranks. Mandrills were more likely both to avoid an approaching group mate and to direct their grooming to a group mate when differences in cardinal ranks were larger (controlling for differences in ordinal ranks). These results suggest mandrills represent their own dominance hierarchy as based on a cardinal, not an ordinal, scale.


Dominance hierarchy Cardinal rank Social cognition Mandrillus sphynx 



We thank the Rome zoo (Bioparco) for allowing us to study their mandrill colony and Giorgio Manzi for his support. Kim Bard and an anonymous reviewer provided valuable comments.

Supplementary material

10071_2019_1308_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (83 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 83 kb)
10071_2019_1308_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (XLSX 21 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della CognizioneConsiglio Nazionale delle RicercheRomeItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Biologia AmbientaleSapienza Università di RomaRomeItaly

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