Abstract # 1970 Event # 138:

Scheduled for Friday, August 18, 2006 03:45 PM-04:00 PM: Session 14 (Regency East #2) Oral Presentation


Ritualized affiliation associated with provisioning in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana)

C. Ionica1,2, C. Berman2 and J. Li3
1National Institute of Health (LCE/NICHD), PO Box 529, Poolesville, MD 20837, USA, 2Department of Anthropology, SUNY at Buffalo, NY 14216 USA, 3School of Life Sciences, Anhui University, Hefei, Anhui Province, China 230039
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     Affiliation prior to feeding in non-human primates has usually been interpreted as a conflict prevention strategy. Alternatively, it may spur from anticipatory excitement, especially when expressed as ritualized affiliation immediately before feeding. We tested these hypotheses in a wild but provisioned group of Tibetan macaques at Huangshan, China. We used focal samples to record the temporal distribution of subjects’ behavior (ritualized affiliation, aggression and anxiety indicators) relative to announcement or delivery of food (10 seconds before and 20 after). Ritualized affiliation rarely accompanied provisioning (19 of 221 samples for males; 3 of 294 for females). However, in males it occurred significantly more often immediately after food was announced by wardens (X2=14.5), but before its delivery (X2=12.0) (df=2, p<0.005). Anxiety indicators increased in response to food announcements (males: X2=24.4; females: X2=15.4), but decreased after food delivery (males: X2=32.9; females: X2=38.4) (df=2, p<0.0005). Aggression also increased, but only after food delivery (males: X2=13.5; females: X2=10.9) (df=2, p<0.005). Most importantly, within 2 minutes following provisioning, there were more observed than expected male samples with both aggression and ritualized aggression, or with neither, respectively (X2=6.4, df=1, p=0.011). Since affiliation and aggression co-varied, we suggest that male ritualized affiliation reflected general excitement and did not necessarily function to reduce aggression associated with provisioning.