International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 7–19 | Cite as

New World primates, new frontiers: Insights from the woolly spider monkey, or muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides)

  • Karen B. Strier
Article

Abstract

Despite over 25 years of intensive research, much of our knowledge of primate behavior has been limited to a small number of Old World, semiterrestrial species. With the exception of chimpanzees, these species share consistent patterns of behavior, including aggressive competition between males, male dominance over females, male dispersal and female kin groups, that have come to characterize the Order Primates. However, as research has expanded to include a number of newly studied species, such generalizations about primate behavior are no longer appropriate. Data presented on the wooly spider monkey, or muriqui (Brachyteles arachnoides), provide examples of the ways in which traditional views of primate behavior are being reconsidered. In muriquis, and in several other New World monkeys, female kin groups do not occur because females disperse from their natal groups. In addition, aggressive competition between males is virtually absent; and, female muriquis appear to be codominant with males. Constraints on sexual dimorphism may help to explain why muriquis (and other New World primates) differ so fundamentally from the better known semi-terrestrial Old World monkeys.

Key Words

New World primates muriqui dispersal sexual dimorphism female choice 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karen B. Strier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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