Interactions with humans impose time constraints on urban-dwelling rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta)

In: Behaviour
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  • 1 Department of Biomedical Science & Physiology, Faculty of Science Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, UK
  • | 2 Department of Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  • | 3 California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  • | 4 Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
  • | 5 Himachal Pradesh Forest Department, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh 171002, India
  • | 6 Institute of Anthropology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland
  • | 7 School of Biology, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Trivandrum, Kerala, India
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Time is a valuable but limited resource, and animals’ survival depends on their ability to carefully manage the amount of time they allocate to each daily activity. While existing research has examined the ecological factors affecting animals’ activity budgets, the impact of anthropogenic factors on urban-dwelling animals’ time budgets remains understudied. Here we collected data through focal animal sampling from three groups of rhesus macaques in Northern India to examine whether interactions with humans decrease macaques’ resting and social time (time constraints hypothesis), or whether, by contrast, foraging on anthropogenic food, that is potentially high in calories, leads macaques to spend more time resting and in social interactions (free time hypothesis). We found that macaques who interacted more frequently with people spent significantly less time resting and grooming, supporting the time constraints hypothesis. We argue that these time constraints are likely caused by the unpredictability of human behaviour.

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