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The Socioecology of Adult Female Patas Monkeys and Vervets in Kenya


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Table of Contents

CH. 1: The Research Question
Study species - Vervets and patas monkeys
Questions and hypotheses
Socioecological theory - Food resources and primate behavior
Scramble and contest competition
Social dominance
Models of female social relationships
Testing the models on Segera: A natural ecological experiment
Holding habitat constant
Other factors affecting female social behavior
Project goals revisited
Study groups
Study subjects
CH. 2. Measuring primate behavior and ecology
"Measuring" ecology
Measuring food availability
Commonly used methods
Primates' perceptions of the foods available to them
Clumped resources and contest competition
CH. 3: Foods available to vervet and patas monkeys
Hypotheses and predictions
Defining a food patch
Measuring food availability
Large-scale food availability
Small-scale food availability
Swollen thorn foods
Foods in the riverine habitat
Herbaceous level food availability
Food availability on Segera
CH. 4: Feeding behavior of vervets and patas monkeys
Studying the feeding behavior of sympatric species
Vervets and patas monkeys: Expected differences and similarities
Whistling-thorn Acacia: Why focus on one food species?
Feeding behavior
Continuous sampling
Bout sampling
Rank-related differences in feeding behavior
Patch depletion
Monkeys, Acacia, and ants
Species differences
Within-species differences according to rank
CH. 5: Contest competition and dominance in vervets
The concept of dominance
Testing hypotheses
Results: Contest competition and dominance in vervets
Dominance patterns and feeding competition in vervets
The significance of dominance to vervets
Dominance style in Segera vervets
"Typical" cercopithecines?
Why a stable, linear dominance hierarchy on Segera?
CH. 6: Comparing vervet and patas monkeys in the same habitat.
Questions and Predictions
Agonistic and dominance behavior
Food contestability in vervets and patas monkeys
Dominance in adult females
Feeding competition and whistling-thorn foods
Significance of feeding competition to vervet and patas monkeys
CH. 7: Food availability, feeding competition and dominance in vervet and patas monkeys.
Female contest competition and dominance in vervets and patas monkeys on Segera
How do the models rate?
Summary and implications for future research

Promotional Information

Socioecology of Adult Female Patas Monkeys and Vervet in Kenya, East Africa provides students with a glimpse into a research project from start to finish. It discusses basic issues of studying primates and explores one of the major theories that has defined primatology for several decades. This text not only contributes detail on primate behavior, but also on the ecological variables that influence primate behavior. These are often difficult to measure, but the unique environment at the study site enabled the author to address questions that are much more difficult to answer elsewhere.

About the Author

Dr. Jill Pruetz is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Iowa State University, specializing in Biological Anthropology. As a primatologist, Dr. Pruetz has studied the behavior of non-human primates such as chimpanzees, spider monkeys, howling monkeys, tamarins, patas monkeys, and vervets in various locales. Countries in which she has conducted fieldwork include Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Senegal. Dr. Pruetz is especially interested in the influence of ecology on primate and early human feeding, ranging, and social behavior. She currently has a research project in southeastern Senegal which has been funded by National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation.


This series is a venue for the publication of PhD-level field studies of wild nonhuman primates in a format that is broadly accessible and more cohesive than the usual and sometimes artificial splicing of field study data into separately published peer-reviewed journal articles. As with other contributions to this series, both books represent a large body of data on wild primates, collected over a period of at least a year. Each monograph begins with an introductory chapter providing background material on the theoretical perspective and history of the topic, followed by information pertaining to the study population(s) and data collection methods. These introductory chapters are then followed by a series of "data chapters" that explore various aspects of the analyses--overall, a format very similar to (but more concise than) that of a PhD dissertation. Pruetz (Iowa State) frames her study of patas and vervet monkeys around the basic tenets of socioecological theory, which predicts that the abundance and distribution of food resources will play a significant role in shaping patterns of sociality in female primates. In an attempt to elucidate this predictive relationship, Pruetz investigated the impact of food abundance and distribution on patterns of food competition and dominance relationships among adult females in two closely related cercopithecine primates, patas monkeys and vervet monkeys. After an in-depth, sophisticated analysis of the relationships among these various factors, Pruetz concludes that most socioecological models are too broad, and the variables insufficiently quantified, to make reliable predictions about these relationships. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections. -- L. Swedell, CUNY Queens College

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