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Biol Lett. 2007 Jun 22;3(3):231-3.

Grooming in Barbary macaques: better to give than to receive?

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  • 1Centre for Research in Evolutionary Anthropology, School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, UK.


It is well established that grooming underpins sociality in group-living primates, and a number of studies have documented the stress-reducing effects of being groomed. In this study, we quantified grooming behaviour and physiological stress (assessed by faecal glucocorticoid analysis) in free-ranging Barbary macaques, Macaca sylvanus. Our results indicate that it is the giving rather than the receiving of grooming that is associated with lower stress levels. These findings shed important new light on the benefits of this key behaviour in primate social life.

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