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Am J Primatol. 2000 Jan;50(1):37-51.

Coalition formation among male Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus).

Author information

1
Institut für Biologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. anja.widdig@charite.de

Abstract

A coalition is formed when one animal intervenes in an ongoing conflict between two parties to support one side. Since support of one party is also an act against the other party, coalitions are triadic interactions involving a supporter, a recipient, and a target. The purpose of this study was to test which of three possible theories explains coalition formation among male Barbary macaques: 1) Males support kin to enhance their indirect fitness (kin selection). 2) Males support nonkin to receive future reciprocal support (reciprocal altruism). 3) Males pursue self-interests and immediately benefit via nonkin support (cooperation). Coalition formation was investigated among 31 semi-free male Barbary macaques in the Salem Monkey Park, Germany during the mating season. The results show: 1) Males intervened more often in dyadic conflicts in which a related opponent was involved and supported related opponents more than unrelated opponents. Close kin supported each other more often than distant kin. 2) Some evidence for reciprocal support was found. However, reciprocity was probably a by-product of targeting the same individuals for dominance. 3) Coalition formation among nonkin is best interpreted as cooperation, based on self-interests. Male Barbary macaques seem to intervene more often to stabilize and less often to improve their rank. Although our data were limited, the results revealed that kin support, reciprocal support, and cooperative support were all involved in coalition formation among male Barbary macaques.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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