Power relations and dominance hierarchy correlations in primates
Primates are the closest living relatives of Homo sapiens and are an important model for understanding human origins. From studying primates and making comparisons to what we know from the hominid fossil record, we can elucidate and make inferences into human physical and social evolution. My research focuses on the social aspects of primate life and attempts to find significant correlations between primate biology and social structure. Specifically, I am interested in how dominance hierarchies and power relationships between male and female primates are established and maintained in primate communities. This study contains a comprehensive dataset on a large sample of known primate species, predominantly from previously published sources and studies. For each primate species, the variables included are body mass, level of sexual dimorphism, brain size, habitat type, diet, life span, age at sexual maturity, gestation length, birth interval, locomotion type, social structure, terrestrial or arboreal locomotion, group size, home range, nocturnal or diurnal, philopatric sex, and dominant sex. Pearson's correlation coefficients between the above variables were calculated. The goal of this research is to determine what factors of primate life, both social and biological, have the largest influence on the formation and maintenance of dominance hierarchies. Certain biological variables related to body mass were found to be correlated with dominance. However, the correlation with sexual dimorphism was not found to be statistically significant and it is presumed that other ecological variables should be studied to better understand primate power relations.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Napolitano, Michael J., "Power relations and dominance hierarchy correlations in primates" (2010). HIM 1990-2015. 1033.