The effects of fur rubbing on the social behavior of tufted capuchin monkeys

Paukner, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3421-1864 and Suomi, S.J., 2008. The effects of fur rubbing on the social behavior of tufted capuchin monkeys. American Journal of Primatology, 70 (11), pp. 1007-1012. ISSN 0275-2565

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Fur rubbing has often been attributed a social as well as a medicinal function in capuchin monkeys, yet to date there have been no studies investigating the effects of fur rubbing on subsequent group dynamics. Here we report for the first time how social group cohesion is affected by fur rubbing in tufted capuchin monkeys. Fifteen captive capuchins were each observed 6 times for 45 minutes, three times following the provision of materials typically used for fur rubbing (onion) and three times following control food items (apple). When compared to the apple condition, monkeys significantly increased proximity to one another in the first 15 minutes of the onion condition, which is when most fur rubbing took place. Moreover, monkeys were more likely to spend time in groups when fur rubbing but less likely to spend time in groups when manipulating the onion in other ways. In subsequent periods monkeys were less likely to be in proximity to one another in the onion condition compared to the apple condition. Aggression between group members was elevated whereas affiliation was decreased throughout the onion condition. In short, capuchins spent more time further apart and engaged in more aggressive acts and shorter affiliative acts following fur rubbing bouts. It is possible that these differences in behavior could be due to differences in how the monkeys competed for and interacted with the items presented in each condition rather than due to fur rubbing as such. Alternatively, fur rubbing with pungent materials might interfere with olfactory cues used to regulate social interactions within a group and thereby cause increased levels of aggression.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: American Journal of Primatology
Creators: Paukner, A. and Suomi, S.J.
Publisher: Wiley
Date: November 2008
Volume: 70
Number: 11
ISSN: 0275-2565
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 29 Mar 2021 11:02
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05

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