Abstract # 11:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 2005 09:30 AM-09:45 AM: Session 2 (Mayfair Room) Oral Presentation


A. Koenig1 and B. C. Wheeler2
1Stony Brook University, Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA, 2Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University
     The rate of female-female agonism within primate groups has been suggested to be associated with diet and the type of female dominance relationships (i.e., egalitarian vs. despotic). This study tested these predictions with data from thirty wild, unprovisioned primate groups (17 species of lemurs, New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, and apes). Data were derived from published and unpublished sources and included rates of agonism, diet (N = 23 only), female group size, dispersal, and degree of arboreality. We tested for associations between variables as well as differences in and predictors for rates of agonism (significance level at P < 0.05). Results indicated that agonism was significantly more frequent in groups that were more terrestrial (Kruskal-Wallis test) and in groups with a greater number of females (Kendall's Tau). Groups classified as despotic were characterized by significantly higher rates of agonism than those classified as egalitarian (Mann-Whitney test), although this difference was no longer significant when controlling for female group size (nonparametric ANCOVA). There was no significant correlation between rates of agonism and the degree of folivory, frugivory, or insectivory (Kendall's Tau). Among the factors examined, the degree of arboreality was the best predictor of rates of agonism (partial regression). The findings suggest that socioecological models require incorporating additional factors such as group size and lifestyle (arboreal vs. terrestrial) to predict types of female dominance relationships.