Members of small monkey groups more likely to fight

December 27, 2011

Small monkey groups may win territorial disputes against larger groups because some members of the larger, invading groups avoid aggressive encounters. In a new report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Margaret Crofoot and Ian Gilby of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology show that individual monkeys that don't participate in conflicts prevent large groups from achieving their competitive potential.

The authors used recorded vocalizations to simulate territorial into the ranges of wild white-faced capuchin monkey groups at the Smithsonian reasearch station on in Panama. Monkeys responded more vigorously to territorial challenges near the center of their territories and were more likely to flee in encounters near the borders.

Defection by members of larger groups was more common than defection by members of smaller groups. Groups that outnumbered their opponents could convert their numerical superiority to a competitive advantage when defending the center of their own range against neighboring , but failed to do so when they attempted to invade the ranges of their neighbors, because more individuals in large groups chose not to participate. According to the authors, these behavior patterns even the balance of power among groups and create a 'home-field advantage' which may explain how large and small groups are able to coexist.

Explore further: A howling success: The fifth howler monkey census on Barro Colorado Island

More information: Crofoot, M.C. and Gilby, I.C. 2011. Cheating monkeys undermine group strength in enemy territory. PNAS.

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1 / 5 (1) Dec 28, 2011
its unbelievable how well this observation of apathy translates or analogizes to human beings and imperialism bumping against entrenched local 'insurrgency'..versus the efficacy of organized crime. . small numbers or people can be highly aggressive inside a larger society--- but large societies tend to be poor at invading others. think about hom many american soldiers secretly oppose the war in the mideast and wont put their ass on the line to fight insurrgemts

i think as with monkey goes man. the smaller groups aggression shows a high participation rate because of a tribal aggression for survival and necessity in tge face of an uncooperative larger society that is implicitly athreat by its mere existance. whereas a larger group is both lacking cohesiveness to begin with and cannot be made to feel cohesive by an implicitly unthreatening minority. even in the mideast the american soldiers know that ' at home' the majority is them and friendly americans---- so they arent so cohesive
not rated yet Dec 28, 2011
" Members of small monkey groups more likely to fight "

..they must be making reference to the Physorg reader comment section.

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