Dominance hierarchy and spatial distribution in captive red-capped mangabeys : Testing Hemelrijk’s agent-based model

Interaction Studies 12 (3):461-473 (2011)
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Abstract

We empirically tested Hemelrijk's agent-based model, in which dyadic agonistic interaction between primate-group subjects determines their spatial distribution and whether or not the dominant subject has a central position with respect to the other subjects. We studied a group of captive red-capped mangabeys that met the optimal conditions for testing this model. We analyzed the spatial distribution of the subjects in relation to their rank in the dominance hierarchy and the results confirmed the validity of this model. In accordance with Hemelrijk's model, the group studied showed an ambiguity-reducing strategy that led to non-central spatial positioning on the part of the dominant subject, thus confirming the model indirectly. Nevertheless, for the model to be confirmed directly, the group has to adopt a risk-sensitive strategy so that observers can study whether dominant subjects develop spatial centrality. Our study also demonstrated that agent-based models are a good tool for the study of certain complex behaviors observed in primates because these explanatory models can help formulate suggestive hypotheses for exploring new lines of research in primatology. Keywords: Dominance-hierarchy rank; spatial distribution; Cercocebus torquatus ; agent-based models

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