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Behavior of nursery/peer-reared and mother-reared rhesus monkeys from birth through 2 years of age


The behavior of 8 nursery/peer-reared and 16 mother-only reared rhesus macaques was observed between birth and 5 months of age, with follow-up studies conducted when the animals were 10–21 months old and living in large social groups. Nursery-reared neonates were more awake, active, and irritable than mother-only reared monkeys. From 1 to 5 months of age the nursery/peer-reared animals exhibited a greater variety of behaviors than the mother-only reared infants, which spent the majority of the time in ventral contact with mothers. As juveniles the groups were indistinguishable with the exception of more self-directed behaviors observed in the nursery/peer-reared monkeys. Both rearing conditions, by virtue of their atypicality, imposed restrictions on social development. The behavioral similarity of the juveniles while in the large social group may be a function of maturation or due to the rehabilitative effect of the large social group.

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Champoux, M., Metz, B. & Suomi, S.J. Behavior of nursery/peer-reared and mother-reared rhesus monkeys from birth through 2 years of age. Primates 32, 509–514 (1991).

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Key Words

  • Rhesus macaque
  • Behavior
  • Rearing
  • Infant
  • Juvenile