The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Bachelor gelada association and ranging patterns: implications for multi-level societies


1Anthropology, University of Michigan, 2Psychology, University of Michigan

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In female-philopatric social systems, strong social bonds among males are rare. Additionally, male dispersal poses a problem for understanding how male association and ranging patterns change as they transition between life-history stages. Geladas (Theropithecus gelada) are rare among Cercopithecine primates in that they live in a multi-level society where all-male bachelor groups loosely associate with reproductive units. However, it is unclear if bachelor groups represent a true module within the broader gelada social system. Here, we examine the association and ranging patterns of bachelors and reproductive units. First, we show that bachelor groups are stable, closed social units. Second, we demonstrate that association indices between bachelor groups and reproductive units are lower than between reproductive units within the same band. Finally, we show that bachelors range over a greater area than reproductive units. These results suggest that bachelors serve as a link between gelada bands and facilitate gene flow across different bands.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation (BCS-0715179, BCS-0962160, BCS-0962118, and Graduate Research Fellowship Program), the Leakey Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Program, and the University of Michigan

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