AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL OF FEMALE-BONDED PRIMATE GROUPS by RICHARD W. WRANGHAM1) (King's College Research Centre, King's College, Cambridge, England) (With 3 Figures) (Acc. 30-VI-1980) INTRODUCTION Most multi-female groups of primates have a similar and remarkably uniform pattern of membership. Females spend their lives in the group where they are born, so that different mothers and their offspring tend to be closely related. Breeding males, on the other hand, are normally im- migrants who were born elsewhere (PACKER, 1979). This paper proposes a model to explain why in these species groups are based on a core of resi- dent females. Previous analyses of the evolution of primate groups have typically ex- amined the problem in a different way, focussing on both sexes together rather than on females. The classical approach has been to search for cor- relations of group size with ecological variables such as habitat or diet type (reviewed by CLUTTON-BROCK & HARVEY, 1977b). Such correlations are then used to infer the ultimate causes of group life. For example, since larger groups tend to be found in open habitats, where primates are vulnerable to predation, groups are sometimes considered to have arisen in response to predators (CROOK &
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1980
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