Articles

Behavior of Vervet Monkeys and Other Cercopithecines

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Science  02 Jun 1967:
Vol. 156, Issue 3779, pp. 1197-1203
DOI: 10.1126/science.156.3779.1197

Abstract

A comparison of the communicative gestures of vervets with those of other cercopithecines reveals both similarities and differences. Examples have been given of gestures (i) exhibited by all cercopithecines, (ii) rare or absent in vervets and common in several other species, (iii) demonstrated by vervets and a few other cercopithecines, and (iv) common in vervets and rare or absent in other members of the subfamily. Vervets, baboons, and rhesus monkeys have approximately the same number of visual signals in their behavioral repertoires—46, 42, and 49, respectively. Patas monkeys seem to have a smaller repertoire. Fifty-nine percent of the vervet patterns have also been described for rhesus monkeys, 63 percent for baboons, and 54 percent for patas. In cercopithecines, visual communicative patterns seem to be evolutionarily one of the most stable forms of behavior, in structural terms. Some of the greatest differences in communicative gestures are differences in the temporal aspects. In species of this subfamily, vocal patterns seem to vary more than visual signals. Greater structural differences in communicative gestures may be found in the Cercopithecinae when systematic field studies are made of some of the forest-dwelling species, about which we know very little.