International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 193–208 | Cite as

Rank-Related Fitness Differences and Their Demographic Pathways in Semi-Free-Ranging Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta)

  • Gregory E. Blomquist
  • Donald S. Sade
  • John D. Berard


Researchers have explored the fitness consequences of female dominance hierarchies in many primate populations, with most studies highlighting differences in age of maturation, fertility, and offspring survival. We use resampling techniques and van Tienderen’s (2000) elasticity path analysis to identify rank-related differences in finite rate of increase (λ) and their demographic correlates among segments of a semi-free-ranging rhesus macaque population. Higher-ranking population segments grew at greater rates for some portions of the 40-yr study period. The female members of these segments achieved these lifetime fitness differences through higher fertility and especially higher adult survival rates. This is the first clear evidence that social rank influences female primate adult survival, and is a crucial fitness component for any long-lived, slow-reproducing animal. Traditional methods of comparing lifespans, and other life history variables, among rank categories fail to identify most of the rank-related differences primarily because they require completed life histories that are available only on a small number of the females known in the population.


Demography Elasticity path analysis Fertility Finite rate of increase Fitness Reproductive success Social dominance Survival 



Cayo Santiago is part of the Caribbean Primate Research Center (CPRC), which is supported by the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The facility is also supported by grant no. CM-5 P40 RR003640-20 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of NIH. The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCRR or NIH. Additional funding for this research was provided by the University of Illinois Graduate College and the University of Missouri. Melissa Gerald, John Cant, Terry Kensler, Benedikt Hallgrimsson, and Jean Turnquist were all helpful resources while we worked with CPRC materials. Donald Sade, Richard Rawlins, John Berard, and Melissa Gerald must be credited for the upkeep of the demographic records on Cayo Santiago, and Angel Guelo Figueroa, Edgar Davila, and Elizabeth Maldonado for their day-to-day maintenance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gregory E. Blomquist
    • 1
  • Donald S. Sade
    • 2
    • 3
  • John D. Berard
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.The North Country Institute for Natural Philosophy, Inc.MexicoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Veterans Affairs, Greater Los AngelesNorth HillsUSA

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