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Horm Behav. 2001 May;39(3):232-8.

Dominance, cortisol, and behavior in small groups of female cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis).

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Section of Neurobiology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


The relationships among social rank, basal cortisol concentrations, and social behavior were assessed in adult female cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Subjects were 157 unrelated, reproductively intact animals housed in 30 small groups. Rank determinations were made monthly. Blood samples were collected on two occasions, 4.5 and 7.5 months following initial group formation. Regular behavioral observations were conducted on a subset of animals over a period of 4 weeks, 9 months following group formation. Analyses revealed that serum cortisol values were significantly correlated across the two sampling periods, with no significant change in absolute values. While social rank was positively correlated across both samples, there was no relationship between rank and cortisol. However, dominant and subordinate animals did differ in the rates of performance of aggressive and submissive behaviors. These data suggest that social rank does not influence baseline serum cortisol in adult female cynomolgus monkeys, despite stability in measures of rank and cortisol and the presence of the usual behavioral differences between dominants and subordinates.

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