Evidence for kinship information contained in the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) face

Bower, S., Suomi, S.J. and Paukner, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3421-1864, 2012. Evidence for kinship information contained in the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) face. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 126 (3), pp. 318-323. ISSN 0735-7036

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The ability to recognize kin is an important social skill for primates. Humans are adept at using facial similarity to recognize likely kin, and there is evidence that nonhuman primates are also able to use facial similarity to make judgments about kinship. However, if and how nonhuman primate faces actually contain kinship information remains unclear. To test whether there is objectively measurable facial similarity in related nonhuman primates, we compared facial measurements from related (paternal half-sisters) and unrelated adult female rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). Facial measurements were first summarized into 5 factors using a principal component analysis. Differences in these factors between the faces of related macaques were compared with differences between the faces of random unrelated macaques and of age-matched unrelated macaques. The difference in facial measurements between related macaques was significantly smaller than the difference in facial measurements of either group of unrelated macaques, constituting an objective measure of facial similarity in macaque kin. These results indicate that kinship information is contained in the rhesus macaque face and suggest that nonhuman primates may rely in part on facial similarity to distinguish kin.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Creators: Bower, S., Suomi, S.J. and Paukner, A.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Date: 2012
Volume: 126
Number: 3
ISSN: 0735-7036
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 25 Mar 2021 19:28
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/42603

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