Control of intragroup aggression by male pigtail monkeys (Macaca nemestrina)

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CERCOPITHECINE primates (Macaca, Papio, and Cercocebus spp.) typically live in cohesive groups containing many more adult females than adult males. Strong status hierarchies often exist within established groups, and one male in each group usually exerts an especially powerful influence on the behaviour of other group members. This individual commonly places himself between the group and any potential external threat and frequently interferes in intragroup aggressive encounters by attacking or threatening to attack one of the participants in the altercation1. An animal displaying this pattern of behaviour has been referred to as a “control animal” or as fulfilling a “control role”2.

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