Hierarchy and its contribution to stress management in the primate society : a study on females in a harem of vulnerable and resilient males
Date of Issue2016-05-23
School of Biological Sciences
Stress has been a household notion in the primate society persisting through the evolution of time. In this study we aim to identify one of the key factors and its contribution to stress in the Hamadryas Baboons’ social structure. Hierarchy, otherwise known as the social ranking, exists in primate society due to the differing levels of dominance in each primate. The Hamadryas baboon society is a typical patriarchal society. Therefore, the males are more dominant than the females. This study is focused on the females, and firstly it concentrates on the female-male interaction in a small harem, where the male is coming of age, with only one or two females in his harem. Secondly it also focuses on the female-female interaction in a large harem where the females have established a hierarchy within themselves with the approval of the dominant males. In either case, stress can come into play. In the incidence where the young male is low in hierarchy and grappling with his own position, he channels his anger and insecurity towards his submissive female. In a large harem, the females themselves compete with each other to be the favourites of the dominant male, which forms the core of their self-concept to feel more secure of themselves. Thus, this study analyses these two different scenarios using the methods of focal sampling and event sampling to understand how the interactions affect the females’ stress level and if and how some turn out to be more resilient than the others. There will also be a comparative study to see which scenario attributes to a higher level of stress. It is hypothesized that the females belonging to the one male unit will be more stressed as they are prone to dealing with aggressive behaviour more from the males as compared to the competition between females in a larger harem.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University