Paternal relatedness and age proximity regulate social relationships among adult female rhesus macaques

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Anja WiddigF B Bercovitch


Kin selection promotes the evolution of social behavior that increases the survival and reproductive success of close relatives. Among primates, maternal kinship frequently coincides with a higher frequency of grooming and agonistic aiding, but the extent to which paternal kinship influences adult female social relationships has not yet been investigated. Here, we examine the effect of both maternal and paternal kinship, as well as age proximity, on affiliative interactions among semifree-ranging adult female rhesus macaques, Macaca mulatta. Kinship was assessed by using both microsatellites and DNA-fingerprinting. Our study confirms that the closest affiliative relationships characterize maternal half-sisters. We provide evidence that adult females are significantly more affiliative with paternal half-sisters than with nonkin. Furthermore, paternal kin discrimination was more pronounced among peers than among nonpeers, indicating that age proximity has an additional regulatory effect on affiliative interactions. We propose that kin discrimination among cercopithecine primates emerges from ontogenetic processes that involve phenotype matching based on shared behavioral traits, such as inherited personality profiles, rather than...Continue Reading


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