Management in Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana): Prevention of aggression, interactions with third parties and anxiety reduction
Ionica, Consuel Severus
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I tested hypotheses concerning conflict management in a group of wild but provisioned Tibetan macaques ( Macaca thibetana ) at Huangshan, China. First I assessed whether Tibetan macaques used infant carrying, bridging, and ritualized affiliation as means of conflict prevention. Infant carrying was not followed by reduced rates of aggression for either males or females. Males increased the rate of ritualized affiliation immediately before provisioning. However, this pattern was consistent with excitement rather than prevention of aggression. In the absence of provisioning, bridging and ritualized affiliation were followed by reduced rates of received aggression in males. In male pairs, good predictors of reduced levels of agonistic interaction and of increased levels of cofeeding were a prolonged history of previous ritualized interactions, as well as high rank. In male dyads, the combined rates of ritualized affiliation and bridging correlated with the rates of co-feeding. Second, I tested whether the patterns of post-conflict interactions with third parties were compatible with conflict management. Affiliative interactions with third parties were significantly more frequent among losers than in winners, and were initiated by opponents more often than they were received from third parties, a pattern compatible with the "self-consolation" hypothesis. High-ranking individuals intervened more often in conflicts than low-ranking individuals, and males more often than females. However, most interventions by males on females appeared to be sexually motivated. Redirection of aggression was the most frequent type of post-conflict interaction with third parties, more prevalent in losers than in winners, and more common in the provisioning area than in forest. Finally, I tested whether interactions with third parties and affiliation with the former opponent reduced uncertainty in former opponents. Body shaking was the only self-directed behavior that could be reliably used to estimate post-conflict anxiety in former opponents. The rates of body shaking were elevated following conflicts, and were significantly reduced under the baseline levels by reconciliation. Interactions with third parties were also followed by reductions in the rates of body shaking, but not as strong as reconciliation. A similar effect was found for the rate of being aggressively re-targeted in losers, with reconciliation being the most effective.