Abstract # 8:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 02:00 PM-02:15 PM: Session 3 (Magnolia) Oral Presentation


THE EFFECT OF FEMALE KINSHIP ON NATAL ATTRACTION AND INFANT HANDLING IN URSINE COLOBUS (COLOBUS VELLEROSUS) AT BOABENG-FIEMA MONKEY SANCTUARY, GHANA

I. Badescu1,2, E. C. Wikberg2, N. Ting3 and P. Sicotte2
1Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada, 3Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA
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     It is important to investigate how female kinship shapes natal attraction and infant handling (infant interactions with individuals other than the mother), as potential costs and benefits can influence the fitness of infants, mothers and handlers. We examined the effect of female kinship on natal attraction and infant handling in wild Colobus vellerosus. This species shows egalitarian female-female relationships and female philopatry with facultative dispersal; hence, access to female kin varies. We used pedigree information and genetic data to categorize female kin and non-kin. We genotyped 20 short tandem repeat loci and used Coancestry to calculate dyadic relatedness (R). Kin were dyads with R above 0.28, corresponding to R of known parent-offspring, full/half-siblings, grandparent-grandoffspring. Between 2008-2010, we collected 1224 hours of focal data from 12 infants and 65 females in eight groups. Our total data set includes 66 infants and 77 females, which accounts for individuals who interacted with our focal animals. Subadult female kin exhibited more natal attraction (GEE, p=0.020) but did not handle more (p=0.141) than non-kin. Adult female kin and non-kin exhibited natal attraction and infant handling at similar frequencies (p=0.179, p=0.181). Therefore, kinship does not have a large influence on natal attraction and infant handling in C. vellerosus. Due to its gentle nature, infant handling may be a mechanism of female bonding, exchanged between both kin and non-kin to strengthen relationships.