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Primate social systems and dominance. Although group structure may vary quite a bit among different Primate species, all Primates rely on group structure. Why do Primates live in groups? To avoid being eaten by predators . More opportunities to mate

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social systems

Although group structure may vary quite a bit among different Primate species, all Primates rely on group structure. Why do Primates live in groups?

  • To avoid being eaten by predators.
    • More opportunities to mate
    • More help finding/collecting food resources
    • Better learning/teaching happens within groups
Social systems
primate group organization

Solitary foragers:Single adult individual or mother-child pair dispersed throughout home range.

Some Prosimians and Orangutans are solitary foragers.

Primate group organization
monogamous

Monogamous (pair bonded): Groups that consist of male-female pair and their offspring.

Species who are monogamous include Gibbons and Siamangs.

Monogamous
polyandrous

Polyandrous: Groups that consist of one female, two or more males and their offspring.

Species who are polyandrous are some Tamarins.

polyandrous
uni male harems

Uni-male (harems): Groups that consist of one male, multiple females and their offspring.

Species who are uni-male are some monkeys and gorillas.

Uni-male (harems)
multi male multi female

Multi-male/Multi-female: Groups which consist of multiple male and females and their offspring.

Species who live in mult-male/multi-female social system.

Multi-male/multi-female
dominance

Dominance is beneficial in the following ways:

Better mating opportunities which lead to more offspring.

Better access to food resources.

Access to best sleeping sites.

DOMINANCE
male dominance

It’s more common for males to be dominant in Primates. A few reasons for this are:

Males are usually bigger and stronger than females.

Males are usually more aggressive and competitive.

Males are better at gaining support of the group.

Species who have a male dominant hierarchy are Chimpanzees and Capuchins.

Male dominance
female dominance

Female dominance isn’t as common as male dominance in Primates. Most times, females are able to dominate males by uniting as a group. One exception is the Ringtailed Lemur. Males are submissive without aggression from a group of females. In many instances where females dominate, they inherit their status at birth from their mother. In female dominated socieities, males usually leave the group around a certain age in order to prevent inbreeding.

Female Dominance

Ringtailed Lemur

Bonobo Chimpanzee