, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 197–200 | Cite as

Conflict and postconflict behaviour in captive black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti)

  • Cyril C. GrüterEmail author
Short Communication


Black-and-white snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) have almost never been the subject of any behavioural observations in captivity. This study was aimed at providing preliminary information about agonistic and reconciliation behaviour in a group kept at the Kunming Institute of Zoology in China. Established procedures were used for this investigation (i.e., the postconflict/matched-control method and the time-rule method). Intra-group aggression rates were quite low. Postconflict affiliation as well as selective attraction of former opponents to each other following conflicts was demonstrated. Former opponents contacted each other earlier in postconflict periods than in matched-control periods. The average conciliatory tendency of all focal individuals combined was 54.5%. After an agonistic interaction, the first affiliative contact between former aggressors usually took place within the first minute. The behaviours most often shown as first affiliations after a conflict were body contact, mount, touch, and “hold-lumbar”, of which the latter is an explicit reconciliatory gesture. Furthermore, the adult male intervened non-aggressively in 84% of all conflicts (n=25) among the adult females. Overall, the patterns of aggression and reconciliation observed in R. bieti bear many of the traits that characterise tolerant primate species.


Rhinopithecus Captivity Aggression Reconciliation Male policing 



I thank Dr. Gustl Anzenberger for his general support of the project and for comments on the manuscript, Prof. Ji Weizhi and Prof. Zou Rujin for permission to conduct my study at KIZ, Ding Wei for his help prior to and during my stay in Kunming, and Caroline Deak for corrections of the text. The funding came from the A.H. Schultz Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropologisches Institut und MuseumUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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