Date of Thesis

2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science

Department

Animal Behavior

First Advisor

Peter Judge

Keywords

hamadryas baboons, social network analysis, SNA, social behavior, affiliative and aggresive interactions, UCInet

Abstract

The study of animal sociality investigates the immediate and long-term consequences that a social structure has on its group members. Typically, social behavior is observed from interactions between two individuals at the dyadic level. However, a new framework for studying social behavior has emerged that allows the researcher to assess social complexity at multiple scales. Social Network Analysis has been recently applied in the field of ethology, and this novel tool enables an approach of focusing on social behavior in context of the global network rather than limited to dyadic interactions. This new technique was applied to a group of captive hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas hamadryas) in order to assess how overall network topology of the social group changes over time with the decline of an aging leader male. Observations on aggressive, grooming, and proximity spatial interactions were collected from three separate years in order to serve as `snapshots¿ of the current state of the group. Data on social behavior were collected from the group when the male was in prime health, when the male was at an old age, and after the male¿s death. A set of metrics was obtained from each time period for each type of social behavior and quantified a change in the patterns of interactions. The results suggest that baboon social behavior varies across context, and changes with the attributes of its individual members. Possible mechanisms for adapting to a changing social environment were also explored.

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