Third-party ranks knowledge in wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus)
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The Machiavellian/Social Intelligence Hypothesis proposes that a complex social environment selected for advanced cognitive abilities in vertebrates. In primates it has been proposed that sophisticated social strategies like obtaining suitable coalition partners are an important component of social intelligence. Knowing the rank relationships between group members is a basic requirement for the efficient use of coalitions and the anticipation of counter-coalitions. Experimental evidence for such knowledge currently exists in only few species. Here, we conducted rank reversal playback experiments on adult females belonging to three different groups of free-ranging vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus) to test their knowledge of the female hierarchy. Playbacks simulating rank reversals (subordinate aggressing a dominant) induced longer looking times than playbacks simulating a dominant aggressing a subordinate. Vervet monkey females therefore seem to compute the rank relationships between other females. Our results suggest that detailed social knowledge about rank relationships may be widespread in primates and potentially also in other species living in stable groups.
Borgeaud , C , van de Waal , E & Bshary , R 2013 , ' Third-party ranks knowledge in wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus aethiops pygerythrus) ' PLoS One , vol 8 , no. 3 , e58562 . DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058562
Copyright: © 2013 Borgeaud et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
This study was financed by the Swiss National Science Foundation (Sinergia: CRSI33_133040), www.snsf.ch.
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