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  • Author or Editor: Elisabeth Sterck x
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Abstract

During between-group encounters in primates, males often defend mates, food or infants against other males. Males, however, show variation in contests between opponents. In other taxa, such variation has been attributed to variation in familiarity with or threat of opponents. Here we present the results of analyses of between-group encounter intensity variation in Thomas langurs while controlling for threat when evaluating familiarity and vice versa. Encounter intensity was measured by the proportion of encounters with chases and the number of loud calls per minute during the encounter given by the focal male. The results indicate that both familiarity and threat influence encounter intensity. Less familiar opponents had more intense encounters and opponents that differed in the threat level to each other also had more intense encounters. Thus, Thomas langur males seem to incorporate information on both the level of threat and familiarity of other males to make a decision on how to react during a between-group encounter.

In: Behaviour

Abstract

Both humans and group-living animals associate and behave affiliatively more with some individuals than others. Human friendship has long been acknowledged, and recently scientists studying animal behaviour have started using the term friendship for close social associates in animals. Yet, while biologists describe friends as social tools to enhance fitness, social scientists describe human friendship as unconditional. We investigate whether these different descriptions reflect true differences in human friendship and animal close social associations or are a by-product of different research approaches: namely social scientists focussing on proximate and biologists on ultimate explanations. We first stress the importance of similar measures to determine close social associations, thereafter examine their ultimate benefits and proximate motivations, and discuss the latest findings on the central-neural regulation of social bonds. We conclude that both human friendship and animal close social associations are ultimately beneficial. On the proximate level, motivations for friendship in humans and for close social associations in animals are not necessarily based on benefits and are often unconditional. Moreover, humans share with many animals a similar physiological basis of sociality. Therefore, biologists and social scientist describe the same phenomenon, and the use of the term friendship for animals seems justified.

In: Behaviour