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Female Bonds and Kinship in Forest Guenons

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Abstract

A general pattern in animal behavior is that group-living species tend to bias their sociopositive behavior toward genetic relatives. In nonhuman primates, kin-biased social bonds have been reported in large multimale, multifemale macaque and baboon groups, but little is known for other species. We addressed this with a comparative study on the genetic and social organization of two sympatric forest guenons, Diana (Cercopithecus diana) and Campbell’s monkeys (Cercopithecus campbelli). We conducted long-term observations of social interactions in two groups of each species in their natural West African forest habitat and collected fecal samples for subsequent microsatellite genetic analyses. We found that both formed female-bonded, egalitarian social organizations. We then compared patterns of genetic relatedness, spatial proximity, and key social behaviors and found that females consistently targeted individuals other than their closest relatives to form social bonds. The fact that females did not preferentially favor genetic relatives contributes to a growing literature showing that social bonds, or “friendships,” among unrelated individuals plays a key role in primate social organizations.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the French Ministry of Research, IUF, PICS-CNRS, ANR “Orilang” with additional support from the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, the EC FP6 programme (“What It Means to Be Human”) and ESF-Eurocores (“The Origin of Man Language and Languages”), the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Egide), and the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques (CSRS). In Côte d’Ivoire, we thank the Minister of Scientific Research and the Office Ivoirien des Parcs et Réserves (OIPR) for permission to conduct research in Taï National Park. We also thank A. Bitty and the CSRS for logistic support. We are very grateful to our field assistants B. Diero, F. Belé, and F. Gnepa for their invaluable help with data collection and to members of the Taï Chimpanzee Project (TCP) and the Centre de Recherche en Ecologie (CRE) for their support in the field. We thank N. Mathevon, R. Wittig, and T. Geissmann for useful discussions and also editor and two anonymous reviewers for their contributions to improvements in the manuscript.

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Candiotti, A., Coye, C., Ouattara, K. et al. Female Bonds and Kinship in Forest Guenons. Int J Primatol 36, 332–352 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-015-9829-1

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