Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


  • Gabriel Ramos-Fernandez
  • Filippo Aureli
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1881-1



Fission-fusion is a property of many animal groups that split in temporary aggregations or subgroups. First described in hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas; Kummer 1971), it has been found in an ever-larger number of species, including elephants, hyenas, dolphins, chimpanzees, and several other primates. Fission-fusion dynamics, as the term is currently used, consist of the temporal variation in the spatial cohesion between group members, who form subgroups that can also vary in size and composition over time, due to splitting and coming together with other subgroups. Because different species show a different extent of temporal variation in these three dimensions (spatial cohesion, subgroup size, and subgroup composition), they can be characterized by their degree of fission-fusion dynamics (Aureli et al. 2008). Resulting in part from the benefits of foraging in variable environments, these dynamics are an important part of...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CIIDIR Unidad OaxacaInstituto Politecnico NacionalOaxacaMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Ciencias de la ComplejidadUniversidad Nacional Autonoma de MexicoMexicoMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de NeuroetologíaUniversidad VeracruzanaXalapaMexico
  4. 4.Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and PalaeoecologyLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Zanna Clay
    • 1
  1. 1.Durham UniversityDurhamUK