Bonds of bros and brothers: Kinship and social bonding in postdispersal male macaques.

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    • Abstract:
      Group‐living animals often maintain a few very close affiliative relationships—social bonds—that can buffer them against many of the inevitable costs of gregariousness. Kinship plays a central role in the development of such social bonds. The bulk of research on kin biases in sociality has focused on philopatric females, who typically live in deeply kin‐structured systems, with matrilineal dominance rank inheritance and life‐long familiarity between kin. Closely related males, in contrast, are usually not close in rank or familiar, which offers the opportunity to test the importance of kinship per se in the formation of social bonds. So far, however, kin biases in male social bonding have only been tested in philopatric males, where familiarity remains a confounding factor. Here, we studied bonds between male Assamese macaques, a species in which males disperse from their natal groups and in which male bonds are known to affect fitness. Combining extensive behavioural data on 43 adult males over a 10‐year period with DNA microsatellite relatedness analyses, we find that postdispersal males form stronger relationships with the few close kin available in the group than with the average nonkin. However, males form the majority of their bonds with nonkin and may choose nonkin over available close kin to bond with. Our results show that kinship facilitates bond formation, but is not a prerequisite for it, which suggests that strong bonds are not restricted to kin in male mammals and that animals cooperate for both direct and indirect fitness benefits. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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