Dominance rank predicts social network position across developmental stages in rhesus monkeys
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AbstractSocial network analysis is increasingly common in studying the complex interactions among individuals. Across a range of primates, high-ranking adults are generally more socially connected, which results in better fitness outcomes. However, it still remains unclear whether this relationship between social network position and dominance rank emergences in infancy and whether, in species with a social transmission of dominance rank, social network positions are driven by the presence of the mother. To fill this gap, we first explored whether dominance ranks were related to social network position, measured via eigenvector centrality, in infants, juveniles, and adults in a troop of semi-free ranging rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We then examined relationships between dominance rank and eigenvector centrality in a peer-only group of yearlings who were reared with their mothers in either a rich, socially complex environment of multigenerational (MG) kin support or a unigenerational (UG) group of mothers and their infants from birth through eight months. In experiment 1, we found that mother’s network position predicted offspring network position, and that dominants across all age categories were more central in affiliative networks (social contact, social grooming, and social play). Experiment 2 showed that high-ranking yearlings in a peer-only group were more central only in the social contact network. Moreover, yearlings reared in a socially complex environment of MG kin support were more central. Our findings suggest that the relationship between dominance rank and social network position begins early in life, and that complex early social environments can promote later social competency. Our data add to the growing body of evidence that the presence/absence of the mother and kin influence how dominance rank affects social network position. These findings have important implications for the role of caregivers in the social status of developing primates, which ultimately ties to health and fitness outcomes.
CitationWooddell, L. J., Kaburu, S. K. and Dettmer, A. M. (2019) Dominance rank predicts social network position across developmental stages in rhesus monkeys, American Journal of Primatology, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23024.
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology