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Female social relationships
Julie Duboscq, PhD student, German Primate Center, Germany in collaboration with Bernard Thierry, DEPE-CNRS-Strasbourg University, France and Oliver Schuelke, CRC "Evolution of Social Behaviour", Göttingen, Germany

Social relationships among female primates reflect a complex combination of competitive and cooperative strategies. Socioecological models (Wrangham 1980, van Schaik 1989, Isbell 1991, Sterck et al. 1997) and the covariation hypothesis (Matsumura 1999, Thierry 2000) provide two different frameworks to explain the diversity of female social relationships in primates. Several predictions have been made from these hypotheses and studies testing the validity of the models have not always been successful.

The aim of this study is to collect data on female social behaviours, female feeding competition and food ecology in a macaque species that has rarely been studied in the wild and that has been categorised as "resident-nepotistic-tolerant" (Sterck et al., 1997) or "grade-4" social organization (Thierry, 2000). Results will enable us to test the predictions of the different hypotheses and to better understand the evolution of the social system in macaques.