Social Behavior found among Primates, Biology tutorial


Primates basically live in social groups which give diverse advantages such as protection, food, mates, learning of skills, grooming and parental care. Primates show a lot of social behavior such as foraging, grooming and feeding, parental care, tools making, sexual behavior and mate choice, dominance hierarchy, territoriality, agonistic behavior and warfare, communication and so forth. This entire behavioral act improves the group for continuity and survival.


  • Each and every primates groom 
  • One combs fur of the other
  • Pick out dried skin, parasites 
  • Main function: interaction to maintain the social bonds 
  • Each and every primate however prosimians use fingers 
  • We have not lost the grooming habit 

Each and every primate groom from prosimians to monkeys to apes to us. They have cleaning functions, however among nonhuman primates; their main function seems to reinforce bonds. Among chimps, grooming might entail currying favor from dominant males.


Home range: area of the cyclical migration 

Core area: smaller unit that is the primary area of activity 

Chimps protect their core area against other troops 

Such chimps are on patrol for that aim 

Baboons are much tolerant of baboons from other troops. We appear not to have lost the territorial habit either. Here, a line of males patrol the boundaries of their territory in seeking of intruders. There is a core area, in which the individuals conduct their key activities-hunting, foraging for food, sleeping and so forth. There is as well a home range, in which they migrate on a cyclical basis. Baboons are more tolerant of other troops than chimps are.


Non-human primates communicate, however in different ways. Gibbons, encompass calls, however the communication system is closed. High-pitched shouts, for instance, point out danger, while clatters and clicks might signify 'come here, boys'! They can't be joined to make a third meaning. On the other hand, chimps and gorillas are capable to use their variant of American Sign Language and can make new signals by means of new meaning-their system is open, however limited. Koko the gorilla, Kanzi the bonobo and Washoe the chimp are three classic illustrations of apes employing language.

They do so, frequently by threats. Baboons threaten one other by an open 'yawn' baring their canines. Among chimps, threats might comprise screaming, staring at an adversary, and/or rushing regarding tearing vegetation and usually scaring the others. Submission might be pointing out by a grimace, crouching or presenting the rear end to the victor.

Subsequent to an encounter, chimps seek reconciliation, even the dominant male. Above, one chip expands his hand to offer friendship to the other one. Grooming is the other portion of the repertoire of reconciliation.

Dominance Hierarchies

Dominance hierarchy is stated as a form of animal social structure in which a linear or almost linear ranking exists, with each and every animal dominant over such beneath it and submissive to those above it in the hierarchy. Such a hierarchy is widespread amongst the species of fish, birds such as hens and mammals like baboons, wolves and so on. This theory was first recommended through Norwegian scientist Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe who studied the passive co-existence of hens in the same group.

Effects of Dominance Hierarchy:

1) The most general effect of dominance hierarchy is that the individuals in higher order encompass a better and preceding access to food. The individuals in lower order obtain the leftover feed after the dominant individual has had its feed.

2) This alpha position as well brings better mating opportunities thus raising the chances of reproductive success and a better offspring. In case of species, where a single female mates by multiple males, the males naturally tend to be more aggressive to get the dominant or alpha position.

3) A significant feature joined to dominance hierarchy is that of territorial benefit in favor of dominant individual. This territorial benefit is significant from the view point of nesting place, mating positions and abundant supply of food. In invertebrates such as ants and bees, this territorial benefit is in the form of a big queen chamber indisputably allotted to the queen bee or queen ant.

4) In situation of weakening or death of a dominant individual, the alpha position is supposed through one of the individuals of the instant next order to the alpha position after a reasonable tussle among competing individuals. Once the dominant individual is chosen, the aggression steadily subsides and the rest of the members turn subservient.

Phases of Growth:

Usually, among both ape and monkeys, newborns learn to cling to their mother's stomach; after a year or so, infants ride on their mother's back. As infants become juveniles, they do what human juveniles do-they play. Play behavior, particularly in groups; assist them to learn fundamental skills and to become part of the troop. As the bottom photo exhibits, juveniles are not devoid of empathy; here, a juvenile tries to console a distressed adult.

Foraging and Sharing:

All the primates, comprising our ancestors up to 10,000 years ago, forage for food. A few hunt, however most of the diet comprises of fruits, nuts, roots, leafy greens and others. Gorillas, in spite of their fearsome look to some people, are strict vegetarians. Chimpanzees, on the other hand are omnivores: they eat both plant foods and meat when they hunt; they frequently collaborate in groups.

Bonobos are as well omnivores; however don't eat the volume of meat which chimps do. Chimps in both east and West Africa have made hunting monkeys, particularly red colobus monkeys a fine science. Primatologists have explained two hunting styles: a fairly cooperative free-for-all in Gombe, whereby each one cooperates, however out of self-interest. As many as 70 colobus monkeys are taken every year. In the western rainforest of Tai, chimps are arranged into those who case the monkeys whereas others block the escape routes. The density of the forest needs better organization.

Tool Making and Tool Use:

Chimps are as well tool makers and users. The tool making exhibited their capability to plan ahead: strip a twig of its leaves, insert the stick to the hill, then extract the stick by the termites clinging onto it and lick them off. Chimps in Tai, on the other hand, don't fish for termites, however instead crack nuts by using rocks or heavy branches; Gombe chimps don't crack nuts, although termites and nuts are plentiful in both places. This recommends that chimps have at least the rudiments of culture.

Tool-making behaviors of another species are various. Bonobos form rain hats; orangutans make use of tools as well. Though, neither gibbons nor gorillas have been noticed to make or utilize tools other species.

Agonistic Behavior and Warfare:

Philosophy - 'Make love, not war'. All the species of primate (comprising us - are you shocked?) engage in conflict; agonistic behavior has been noticed for all species of primates, and, for that matter, nearly all animals. Among primates, the conflict is mostly over females or for dominance. Fights are seldom fatal; sooner or later, one gives up the fight. Till year 1975, it was thought that chimps, among other primates, were in able of killing their own type.

In the precedent, chimpanzees were thought to be gentle, when rambunctious creatures. Then in the year 1973, the troop Goodall was observing split into two groups. Two years afterward, the bigger group hunted down the smaller troop and over the next two years, exterminated it. The other growth is cannibalism, as well noticed by Goodall and in the other troop in Mihale, positioned south of Gombe. In contract, bonobos make use of another method to settle conflicts; they employ sex instead of fighting to settle issues. Male-male, male-female or female-female - it makes no difference; all three kinds of pairs mate.

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