Social interactions between adult male and infant rhesus monkeys in Nepal

Henry Taylor, Jane Teas, Thomas Richie, Charles Southwick, Ram Shrestha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1,506 hours of field observations on free-ranging rhesus monkeys in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, in 1974 and 1975 18 cases of favorable social interactions between adult males and infants were observed. Eleven of these were brief encounters of play or grooming; seven were more extended cases of male care. One of the latter was a complete adoption of a neonatal orphan by a dominant male. This adoption was possessive and restrictive and it resulted in the death of the infant by starvation within three days. A similar adoption involving the same male occurred in 1976 and it also resulted in the death of the infant. Most of the favorable male-infant interactions occurred during the winter and spring when the infants were 6 to 12 months of age. These favorable social interactions involved eight males in six different troops, out of a total of about 48 males in 12 troops in our study population of approximately 600 monkeys. These observations are discussed in light of current sociobiological theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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