Relationships between Female Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata) with & without Infants in Costa Rica

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Publication Date

Fall 11-8-2019


For group-living, bisexually dispersing primates, adult social bonds are likely to be strongest between males and females. Mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) live in social groups where adults engage in alloparenting and infanticide. We expected females with infants to be closer to males than to other females to prevent infanticide. In January 2019, we observed howler monkey groups in Costa Rica. Females with infants had males as nearest neighbors less often than expected, while other females had male neighbors more than expected. Females with infants may seek close proximity to other females due to the benefits of alloparenting.

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Christina Doelling is a primatologist who works with captive gorillas, chimpanzees, and macaques at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo. She studies the welfare, social complexities, and personalities of primates in captive environments. She also conducts field work in Costa Rica on mantled howler monkeys and is interested in the social dynamics of wild new-world monkey populations in fragmented forests. Christina has a BFA from Columbia College Chicago with post-bac coursework in biology from Northwestern University.