, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 271–283 | Cite as

Aggressive interventions and matrilineal dominance relations in semifree-ranging barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus)

  • Jean Prud'Homme
  • Bernard Chapais


Female Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) form matrilineal hierarchies, i.e. they come to rank below their mother in relation to non-kin females in the course of maturation. The stability of such hierarchies and the acquisition of the matrilineal rank are achieved through dyadic aggressions and third party interventions in conflicts. This study examines the dynamics of interventions in non-kin conflicts in a semifree-ranging group of 109 Barbary macaques at “La Montagne des Singes,” Kintzheim, France. Focal sampling on 13 females aged 3 and 4 years not yet dominant over all older females from lower ranking kin groups (lower born females) was carried out during 16 months in 1987 and 1988. Results on the direction of support in non-kin female conflicts (all samples pooled) show that interventions were generally provided on behalf of the female from the higher ranking kin group (higher born female). Rates of interventions (derived from focal samples) given and received were correlated with the hierarchy; higher born females received more support and intervened more often than lower born females. A subset of interventions (based on the age of the females involved) was analyzed according to the rank distance between the opponents and the type of support provided (spontaneous or solicited). On the basis of their representation, intermediate-ranking supporters (i.e. females ranking between the opponents) intervened more often than above-ranking supporters (i.e. females dominant to both opponents), and they intervened more often spontaneously than following a solicitation. The results on interventions are discussed in the perspective of benefits to supporters. Twenty-one instances of outranking of older females (matrilineal rank acquisition) were observed. By the end of the study, the number of older lower born females not yet outranked by the focal females was negatively correlated to the rank distance between the two sets of females. However no such correlation was found between these two groups when compared according to their age difference in years.

Key Words

Dominance Intervention Macaca sylvanus Rank distance 


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Prud'Homme
    • 1
  • Bernard Chapais
    • 1
  1. 1.Départment d'AnthropologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada

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