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Inbreeding avoidance in rhesus macaques: Whose choice? - Manson - 1993 - American Journal of Physical Anthropology - Wiley Online Library

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Inbreeding avoidance in rhesus macaques: Whose choice?


  • Dr. Joseph H. Manson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1382
    • Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1382
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Susan E. Perry

    1. Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1382
    Search for more papers by this author


Whether nonhuman primates avoid copulating with close kin living in their social group is controversial. If sexual aversion to relatives occurs, it should be stronger in females than in males because of females' greater investment in each offspring and hence greater costs resulting from less viable offspring. Data presented here show that adult male rhesus macaques breeding in their natal groups at Cayo Santiago experienced high copulatory success, but copulated less with females of their own matrilineages than with females of other matrilineages. Adult females were never observed to copulate with males of their own matrilineage during their fertile periods. Although natal males sometimes courted their relatives, examination of two measures of female mate choice showed that females chose unrelated natal males over male kin. Female aversion to male kin was specific to the sexual context; during the birth season, females did not discriminate against their male relatives in distributing grooming. Evolved inbreeding avoidance mechanisms probably produce different outcomes at Cayo Santiago than in wild rhesus macaque populations. Gender differences in sexual aversion to relatives may be partly responsible for differences between studies in reported frequency of copulations by related pairs. © 1993 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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  • Mate Choice;
  • Cayo Santiago

Publication History

  • Issue online: 27 April 2005
  • Version of record online: 27 April 2005
  • Manuscript Accepted: 26 June 1992
  • Manuscript Received: 10 October 1991

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  • Number of times cited: 27
  1. 1Carol M. Berman, Primate Kinship: Contributions from Cayo Santiago, American Journal of Primatology, 2016, 78, 1, 63Wiley Online Library
  2. 2Erica M. Tennenhouse, M. Hauber, Inbreeding Avoidance in Male Primates: A Response to Female Mate Choice?, Ethology, 2014, 120, 2, 111Wiley Online Library
  3. 3Maria V. Rakhovskaya, Correlates of Male Consortship Rate in Free-Ranging Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta), International Journal of Primatology, 2013, 34, 4, 662CrossRef
  4. 4Jorg J. M. Massen, Elisabeth H. M. Sterck, Stability and Durability of Intra- and Intersex Social Bonds of Captive Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta), International Journal of Primatology, 2013, 34, 4, 770CrossRef
  5. 5H. A. MacCormick, D. R. MacNulty, A. L. Bosacker, C. Lehman, A. Bailey, D. Anthony Collins, C. Packer, Male and female aggression: lessons from sex, rank, age, and injury in olive baboons, Behavioral Ecology, 2012, 23, 3, 684CrossRef
  6. 6Jorg J. M. Massen, Anne M. Overduin-de Vries, Annemiek J. M. de Vos-Rouweler, Berry M. Spruijt, Gaby G. M. Doxiadis, Elisabeth H. M. Sterck, Male Mating Tactics in Captive Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta): The Influence of Dominance, Markets, and Relationship Quality, International Journal of Primatology, 2012, 33, 1, 73CrossRef
  7. 7Constance Dubuc, Kelly D. Hughes, Julie Cascio, Laurie R. Santos, Social tolerance in a despotic primate: Co-feeding between consortship partners in rhesus macaques, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2012, 148, 1, 73Wiley Online Library
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  17. 17Joseph H. Manson, Evolved psychology in a novel environment, Human Nature, 1998, 9, 2, 97CrossRef
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  19. 19Laura Smale, Scott Nunes, Kay E. Holekamp, , 1997, 26, 181CrossRef
  20. 20Doris Zumpe, Richard P. Michael, Social factors modulate the effects of hormones on the sexual and aggressive behavior of macaques, American Journal of Primatology, 1996, 38, 3, 233Wiley Online Library

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