AbstractDyadic agonistic dominance relationships are thought to result fromasymmetries in both intrinsic and extrinsic power. One form of extrinsicpower is the ability to solicit agonistic support from other individuals. Inextreme cases extrinsic power differences may override intrinsic powerdifferences so that physically inferior individuals attain rank positionsabove stronger competitors. In other cases superior extrinsic power inphysically inferior individuals may destabilize the otherwise cleardominance relationships. We tested this prediction with observational dataon adult males in one of three free-ranging groups of Barbary macaques atAffenberg Salem, Germany. All prime males that were subjects of this studywere at least 5–8 years (average 10 years) younger than the old post-primemales that were all subordinate to them. Assuming large age differences toreflect large intrinsic/physical power differences, interactions betweenthese prime and the old males allowed investigation of the separate effectsof intrinsic and extrinsic power asymmetries on dominance relationships. Weestimated relationship instability using four different estimates (counteraggression, conflicts initiated by aggression from the subordinate,spontaneous submissions by dominants, and decided conflicts won by thesubordinate). Relationship instability did not decrease with increasingasymmetry in intrinsic power. Instead, all four measures of relationshipinstability were positively related to the number of times the dominant in adyad was target of destabilizing coalitions. Destabilizing coalitionstargeted dominant males in old male–prime male dyads more often than in oldmale–old male dyads. Consequently, old males had less stable relationshipswith the much stronger prime males than with each other. We conclude thatextrinsic power asymmetries predicted the instability of dyadic dominancerelationships and may systematically override intrinsic powerasymmetries.
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1
Keywords: MALE SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS; AFFENBERG SALEM; DOMINANCE; BARBARY MACAQUE; COALITION; RELATIONSHIP STABILITY; MACACA SYLVANUS
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