International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
Coverage: 1923-1941 (Vols. I-XIX) & 1962-2023 (Vols. 1-61)
ISSN 0323-1119 (Print)
ISSN 2570-9127 (Online)
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'Nadler RD, 1995: The Social Nexus of Immature Wild Mountain Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla Beringei). Anthropologie (Brno) 33, 1-2: 99-106'.
Commonly held hypothesis regarding the "function " of the relatively prolonged stage of early development in primates is that it prepares the young animal for the challenges of adulthood. The early period of behavioral developmentin primates is a time of learning; it is, presumably, their relatively large brains which enable them to acquire essential social and survival skills through experience. A study was conducted on the social nexus of immature wild gorillas in order to gain some insight into the process by which these animals learn species-appropriate social behavior.T he assumption was made that the importance of social contacts for learning species-appropriate behavior is related to the percentage of time spent in association with various age/sex classes of individuals. Nine immature wild mountain gorillas were studied over a period offive months; the animals ranged in age from newborn to 3.3 years and lived in two social groups. The percentage of time spent in physical contact and proximity with another animal varied with group activity, namely, rest periods and travel/feed periods. With the exception of the newborn, all of the immaturea nimals were in physical contact and proximity with another animal for a lesser percentage of time during feeding than during rest periods. The difference, not surprisingly, was reflected primarily in the time spent in contact with the mother during feeding. The age/sex classes with which the immature animals were in contact the greatest percentage of time, apartfrom the mother, were other infants and juveniles. The silverbacked males were also attractive to the immature animals, but less so than infants and juveniles. The data suggest, therefore, that the most important extra-maternal social contacts of immature mountain gorillas during the first several years of life are other infant and juvenile members of their group. If this is the case, it is likely that what is learned during this early phase of development is a general social competence rather than specific types of behavior.
Development - Ontogeny - Socialization - Social behavior - Great apes

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