On the Function of Allogrooming in Old-World Monkeys

  • C. Goosen
Conference paper
Part of the Proceedings in Life Sciences book series (LIFE SCIENCES)


Grooming behavior is a very common type of social interaction between adults of many species of Old-World monkeys. In this interaction, one individual appears to closely examine the coat or skin of his partner (allogrooming), while parting or plucking at hairs. This paper briefly considers various current hypotheses; a more extensive discussion is given elsewhere (Goosen 1980b). Hypotheses concerning the survival function can be divided into two groups: clean and eat hypotheses and social bonding and tension reduction ones. As discussed below, both types of hypotheses are incomplete; those in the first group are incomplete because removal or recovery of debris or vermin from the pelage being groomed is of only minor significance. Hypotheses of the second group are incomplete because they are too broad; the concepts of social bond or low tension are defined such that they cannot explain why grooming varies with the type of situation in which animals meet. An alternative hypothesis which combines several elements included in the others and which is in good agreement with the literature data is later presented here.


Rhesus Monkey Support Relation Survival Resource Reciprocal Altruism Primate Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Goosen
    • 1
  1. 1.Primate Center TNORijswijkThe Netherlands

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