Disability and Dominance Rank in Adult Female and Male Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata)

  • Sarah E. TurnerEmail author
  • Masayuki Nakamichi
  • Toshikazu Nobuhara
  • Hisami Nobuhara
  • Simon M. Reader
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


More than 30 years ago, Fedigan (Primate paradigms: sex roles and social bonds, 2nd, 1992 edn. Eden Press, Montreal, 1982) recognized and emphasized that social dominance was not just a reflection of physical size, strength and aggression in nonhuman primates but rather involved a multitude of complex factors and social dynamics. In the free-ranging group of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) on Awaji Island, Japan, physical disabilities in the form of congenital limb malformations (CLMs) affect around 17% of the population. This group provides an opportunity to examine dominance rank in relation to physical impairment. Here, we present an analysis of dominance rank in the adult female and adult male Japanese macaques in the Awajishima group using behavioural data collected in 2005, 2006 and 2007 on 38 adult females (12 with CLMs) and in 2015 on 22 adult males (7 with CLMs). Once we controlled for matrilineal kinship, we found that disabled females tended to hold somewhat lower than expected dominance ranks. In contrast, disabled males were interspersed throughout the rank order, and disability was not associated significantly with dominance rank. However, age class had a statistically significant effect on dominance rank in males, such that older males tended to rank higher than younger males. Our results underscore Fedigan’s insights by demonstrating some of the complexities of dominance relationships in the context of the extensive physical variation shown in this group of Japanese macaques.


Dominance rank Physical impairment Resource holding potential Japanese monkey Physical disability 



SET would like to thank Linda M. Fedigan for her advising and mentorship over the years, the organizers of the Festschrift and editors of this book, the Nobuhara and Nakahashi family for permission to conduct research at the AMC and for sharing their time and knowledge and conducting peanut tests and K and K Okada and family for their kindness in Japan. SET gratefully acknowledges the funding provided by the Fonds de Récherche de Québec—Nature et Technologies (FRQNT postdoctoral fellowship), McGill University and PhD research funding from The Leakey Foundation, an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, the Animal Behavior Society, Province of Alberta Graduate Scholarships, the University of Calgary, the University of Calgary Dept. of Anthropology and NSERC (post-graduate scholarship B). SMR’s research is supported by McGill University, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC grants #418342-2012 and #429385-2012) and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI grant #29433). Thanks to JF Addicott, LJN Brent, CJ Dey, KM Jack, HD Matthews, PO Montiglio, AR Reddon, NJ Turner and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this project and earlier versions of the manuscript and for statistical and data management advice. Thanks for field assistance to Y Kamata, HD Matthews, KL Turner and NJ Turner. Thanks for the support of this project to K Yamada, K Onishi, Y Kaigaishi, K Valenta and the members of Simon Reader’s lab at McGill University especially M Cabrera, L Chouinard-Thuly, MF Guigueno, PO Montiglio, AR Reddon, PQ Sims and I Vassileva.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah E. Turner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Masayuki Nakamichi
    • 2
  • Toshikazu Nobuhara
    • 3
  • Hisami Nobuhara
    • 3
  • Simon M. Reader
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  2. 2.Osaka UniversityOsakaJapan
  3. 3.Awajishima Monkey CenterHyogo PrefectureJapan

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