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Gestural communication in three species of macaques (Macaca mulatta, M. nemestrina, M. arctoides): Use of signals in relation to dominance and social context

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The present study compared the frequency and contextual usage of the most prominent gestural signals of dominance, submission, affiliation, and bonding in rhesus, pigtail, and stumptail macaques living in captivity. Most similarities among species were found in signals of dominance and submission and most differences in affiliative gestures and bonding patterns. Rhesus macaques have a relatively poor gestural repertoire, pigtail macaques possess conspicuous signals of affiliation and bonding, and stumptail macaques have the richest repertoire of assertive and submissive signals. The similarities and differences in the gestural repertoires of rhesus, pigtail, and stumptail macaques can be related to the intragroup social dynamics of these species as well as to their evolutionary history.

Keywords: Gestural communication; context; dominance; macaques; phylogeny; social organization

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Chicago

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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