Filippo Aureli's research while affiliated with Liverpool John Moores University and other places

Publications (233)

Article
We studied mother-infant relationships and infant independence in wild Geoffroy's spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) during the first 3 years of infant life. We used 15-min focal sampling to collect data on mother-infant interactions and infant behavior in 12 mother-infant dyads in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. Data were analyzed using generalized...
Article
Communicative complexity relates to social complexity, as individuals in more complex social systems either use more signals or more complex signals than individuals living in less complex ones. Taking the individual group member's perspective, here we examine communicative complexity in relation to social complexity, which arises from two componen...
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Senses form the interface between animals and environments, and provide a window into the ecology of past and present species. However, research on sensory behaviours by wild frugivores is sparse. Here, we examine fruit assessment by three sympatric primates ( Alouatta palliata , Ateles geoffroyi and Cebus imitator ) to test the hypothesis that die...
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Shared habitats between humans and other animals are increasing in the twenty-first century, which may require behavioral flexibility from animal species to adjust to these new environments. We evaluated the effects of anthropogenic pressure on Geoffroy’s spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in a low-impact tourism area. Over the course of 18 months,...
Article
Male–male relationships are mostly characterized by competition. However, males also cooperate with one another if socio-ecological conditions are suitable. Due to their male philopatry, the need for cooperation in home range defence and high degree of fission–fusion dynamics, spider monkeys provide an opportunity to investigate how male–male inter...
Article
Deforestation impacts canopy connectivity when landscapes are fragmented due to roads and other types of linear infrastructure. Natural canopy bridges become vital to arboreal animals, especially for animals that are reluctant to use the ground. When canopy regrowth cannot occur, artificial canopy bridges have been implemented to mitigate the conse...
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Self-directed behavior, such as self-scratching (hereafter, scratching), occurs in several taxa across the animal kingdom, including nonhuman primates. There is substantial evidence that scratching is an indicator of anxiety-like emotions in a variety of nonhuman primate species. Despite its importance as a window into emotional states, few studies...
Article
Recent findings have shown that the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in human massage and caress are similar to those involved in grooming of nonhuman primates. In contrast, little is known about the neurophysiological mechanisms of brief touch in both human and other primates. Here we review evidence for brief touch in nonhuman primates and...
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Commercial, off-the-shelf, multirotor drones are increasingly employed to survey wildlife due to their relative ease of use and ability to cover areas quicker than traditional methods. Such drones fitted with high-resolution visual spectrum (RGB) cameras are an appealing tool for wildlife biologists. However, evaluations of the application of drone...
Article
Group-living animals need to deal with conflicting interests to maintain cohesion. When the costs of doing so outweigh the benefits, the group may (temporarily) split into two or more subgroups. Conflicting interests can concern what activity to pursue or the direction of travel. Temporary group separation is a common feature in species with a high...
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Although long-term monitoring of wildlife populations is fundamental in understanding how populations respond to changes in their environment, particularly in areas affected by habitat disturbance, long-term monitoring programs are lacking for many species and sites. Using newer methods to estimate population density may limit comparison with estim...
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Protected areas (PA) are effective means for protecting biodiversity, but less is known about their effect on the social-ecological system (SES). Using a semi-experimental approach and a descriptive case study based evaluation, we analyzed the effect of a PA in the Yucatan Peninsula on land-cover and household resource management strategies in time...
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In 2002, Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh (OMYK) was decreed a federal Flora and Fauna Protected Area in the state of Yucatán, Mexico, resulting in bans on hunting, logging and slash-and-burn agriculture within its limits. Our aim was to evaluate the influence of the establishment of the protected area on local primate populations. We compared relative abund...
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ContextLine-transect sampling is considered to be a more efficient survey method than point-transect sampling to estimate population densities and abundance of many animal species. AimsIn the present study, we tested whether this claim holds true when surveying arboreal fast-moving primate species occurring at low densities, and whether the potenti...
Article
Research on non-human primates in the endangered tropical dry forest of Sector Santa Rosa (SSR), Área de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG), was launched in 1983 and is now one of the longest running studies of primates globally. Such continuous study provides a rare opportunity to ask questions that are only answerable through decades-long monitoring o...
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The extent of differentiation of social relationships within groups is a means to assess social complexity, with greater differentiation indicating greater social complexity. Socio-ecological factors are likely to influence social complexity, but no attempt has been made to explain the differentiation of social relationships using multiple socio-ec...
Article
Spider monkeys provide an intriguing opportunity to examine behavioural flexibility in relation to their social environment given their high degree of fission–fusion dynamics and the nature of male–male relationships. These characteristics allow us to examine how flexibility in social interactions is modulated by the perception of risk and uncertai...
Article
Mirror self-recognition (MSR), usually considered a marker of self-awareness, occurs in several species and may reflect a capacity that has evolved in small incremental steps. In line with research on human development and building on previous research adopting a gradualist framework, we categorized the initial mirror responses of naïve spider monk...
Article
Anthropogenic habitat disturbances are causing large-scale declines in animal abundance. For many species, information on the drivers of decline is lacking or restricted to single sites, despite calls for regional approaches. In this study, we determined the effect of different types of habitat disturbance (natural or anthropogenic) and ecological...
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Extreme climate events can have important consequences for the dynamics of natural populations, and severe droughts are predicted to become more common and intense due to climate change. We analysed infant mortality in relation to drought in two primate species (white-faced capuchins, Cebus capucinus imitator, and Geoffroy's spider monkeys, Ateles...
Article
Drought‐related tree mortality is now a widespread phenomenon predicted to increase in magnitude with climate change. However, the patterns of which species and trees are most vulnerable to drought, and the underlying mechanisms have remained elusive, in part due to the lack of relevant data and difficulty of predicting the location of catastrophic...
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Vigilance is used to monitor extra-group threats as well as risky group members. We examined whether relationship quality affects vigilance patterns of spider monkeys. We used focal animal sampling to collect data on social interactions and individual vigilance of all adults and subadults (N = 22) in a community of well-habituated Geoffroy’s spider...
Article
Unveiling patterns of genetic variation in parasite-host associations: an example with pinworms and Neotropical primates – CORRIGENDUM - Brenda Solórzano-García, Amanda D. Melin, Filippo Aureli, Gerardo Pérez-Ponce de León
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Accurate and precise population estimates form the basis of conservation action but are lacking for many arboreal species due to the high costs and difficulty in surveying these species. Recently, researchers have started to use drones to obtain data on animal distribution and density. In this study, we compared ground and drone counts for spider m...
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Population estimates are critical for making informed conservation decisions. However, methods for data collection and analysis of population estimates from wildlife surveys vary, often preventing comparisons between sites or years. In this study we compared population density estimates of spider monkeys, Ateles geoffroyi, derived from four commonl...
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We argue that the study of social complexity can follow two different approaches, based on how it is seen from the outside or on how it is experienced from within. Recent focus has been on the former with social complexity emerging from the interactions of group members. Here, we take the view from within and deal with the social complexity that in...
Article
Patterns of genetic variation among populations can reveal the evolutionary history of species. Pinworm parasites are highly host specific and form strong co-evolutionary associations with their primate hosts. Here, we describe the genetic variation observed in four Trypanoxyuris species infecting different howler and spider monkey subspecies in Ce...
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Network analysis has increasingly expanded our understanding of social structure in primates and other animal species. However, most studies use networks representing only one interaction type, when social relationships (and the emerging social structure) are the result of many types of interactions and their interplay through time. The recent deve...
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We report 2 cases of predation on an adult and a subadult spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) by a puma (Puma concolor) and an unidentified terrestrial predator at the natural protected area of Otoch Ma’ax yetel Kooh, in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Although spider monkeys are believed to experience overall low predation pressure compared to other p...
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Several studies across anthropoid species have demonstrated how primates respond to the increased risk of conflict during space restriction with various behavioral strategies. Three strategies have been proposed relating to tension regulation, conflict avoidance, and inhibition. Prior research supporting these strategies has focused on individual-...
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Groups of animals (including humans) may show flexible grouping patterns, in which temporary aggregations or subgroups come together and split, changing composition over short temporal scales, (i.e. fission and fusion). A high degree of fission-fusion dynamics may constrain the regulation of social relationships, introducing uncertainty in interact...
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Homosexual behavior is defined as genital contact or genital manipulation between same-sex individuals. In nonhuman primates, it may regulate social relationships by serving as a means of reconciliation, tension alleviation, or alliance formation. Grappling is a rare and complex behavior, which most frequently occurs between same-sex individuals of...
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The ability to inhibit previously employed strategies and flexibly adjust behavioural responses to external conditions may be critical for individual survival. However, it is unclear which factors predict their distribution across species. Here, we investigated social inhibition and behavioural flexibility in six primate species (chimpanzees, bonob...
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The fast movement and high degree of fission-fusion dynamics of spider monkeys (Ateles spp.) make them notoriously difficult to survey. We examined which aspects of survey design affect spider monkey sightings along transects in a group of individually recognized spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in Punta Laguna, Yucatan, Mexico. We calculated the...
Article
Growing evidence from studies on primates and other taxa has shown that the maintenance of long-term affiliative patterns influences fitness. Thus, understanding how individuals regulate social interactions in response to environmental and social factors contributes to our understanding of the evolutionary basis of sociality. We investigated the du...
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Group living leads to competition for food between group members. Two types of intragroup food competition may occur: scramble competition, in which all group members use the same resource, such that feeding opportunities are equal for everyone; and contest competition, in which some group members monopolize resources through aggression and dominan...
Article
Fission–fusion dynamics are thought to be mainly a response to differential availability of food resources. However, social factors may also play a role. Here, we examined whether the quality of social relationships between group members affects fission decisions. During 21 months, we collected data on social interactions and fission events of 22 s...
Article
Arboreal fauna living in tropical ecosystems may be particularly affected by roads given their dependency on forest cover and the high vulnerability of such ecosystems to changes. Over a period of 4 yr, we followed subgroups of spider monkeys living in a regenerating dry tropical forest with 8.2 km of roads within their home range. We aimed to unde...
Chapter
Fission–fusion” was introduced to describe the social system of species that change group size by means of the fission and fusion of subgroups according to their activities and the availability and distribution of resources. The term “fission–fusion dynamics” was proposed to refer to the extent of variation in spatial cohesion and individual member...
Chapter
Conflicts of interest and aggressive interactions are part of the normal day-to-day fabric of social interactions. Although aggression can be damaging to former opponents, postconflict resolution, such as reconciliation, can mitigate some of the damage and restore relationships to the preconflict level. Reconciliation is the postconflict affiliativ...
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Here, we specifically discuss why and to what extent we agree with Burkart et al. about the coexistence of general intelligence and modular cognitive adaptations, and why we believe that the distinction between primary and secondary modules they propose is indeed essential.
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One of the main costs of group living is feeding competition. Fission–fusion dynamics are thought to be a strategy to avoid overt competition for food resources. We tested whether food abundance and quality affected such dynamics in a species characterized by a high degree of fission–fusion dynamics. We collected data on 22 adult and subadult spide...
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Conflict is rife in group-living species and exerts a powerful selective force. Group members face a variety of threats from extra-group conspecifics, from individuals looking for reproductive opportunities to rival groups seeking resources. Theory predicts that such between-group conflict should influence within-group behaviour. However, compared...
Article
Background New World monkeys (NWMs) are unique in that they exhibit remarkable interspecific variation in color vision and feeding behavior, making them an excellent model for studying sensory ecology. However, it is largely unknown whether non-visual senses co-vary with feeding ecology, especially gustation, which is expected to be indispensable i...
Conference Paper
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Feeding competition is an important factor affecting female social relationships in primates. Socioecological models point out that when food sources are monopolizable, contest competition, dominance relationships and female philopatry are expected. Although spider monkeys rely on fruits for up to 90% of their diet, a monopolizable food source, the...
Article
Reciprocity is probably the most debated of the evolutionary explanations for cooperation. Part of the confusion surrounding this debate stems from a failure to note that two different processes can result in reciprocity: partner control and partner choice. We suggest that the common observation that group-living animals direct their cooperative be...
Article
In most animal species, predation risk is considered the main factor affecting vigilance, and an individual is expected to spend less time vigilant in larger than in smaller groups. However, vigilance patterns in primates appear to differ, with no consistency in group-size effects. As individuals in highly gregarious species such as diurnal primate...
Conference Paper
Spider monkeys (Ateles spp.) are large-bodied Neotropical primates threatened across their range largely due to habitat loss. Their fast movement and high degree of fission-fusion dynamics make them notoriously difficult to survey. The aim of our study was to test line transect methodology on a community of individually recognized spider monkeys (A...
Conference Paper
Line transect surveys are the most commonly used method to census arboreal primates. However, to date, no study has tested whether fast moving arboreal species with high levels of fission-fusion dynamics, like spider monkeys (Ateles spp.) violate the assumptions associated with distance sampling such as miscounting groups and recounting individuals...
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Repeated use of sleeping trees (STs) by frugivores promotes the deposition and aggregation of copious amounts of seed, thus having key implications for seed dispersal and forest regeneration. Seed-rain patterns produced by this behaviour likely depend on the frequency of use of these sites, yet this hypothesis has been poorly tested. We evaluated c...
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Our aim was to evaluate the role of sucrose and the role of smell, taste and touch in the selection and consumption of fruit in wild spider monkeys. We recorded the feeding bouts of 14 adults for 9 mo in the Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh Reserve, Punta Laguna, Yucatan, Mexico. For each of 2346 inspections on fruits of six species the consumption or reject...
Article
In recent years, substantial effort has been devoted to methods for analyzing data containing mixed response types, but such techniques typically do not include rank data among the response types. Some unique challenges exist in analyzing rank data, particularly when ties are prevalent. We present techniques for jointly modeling binomial and rank d...
Article
In species with a high degree of fission-fusion dynamics group members may differ in the use of the group home range to reduce food competition. Such differential use may result in distinct individual core areas. We studied core area quality and overlap among 21 female spider monkeys belonging to the same group over a period of 4 years. Core areas...
Article
High levels of fission-fusion dynamics (FFD) may constitute a form of social complexity and have been linked to the enhancement of specific cognitive skills. Species with high levels of FFD, for example, experience frequent changes in subgroup size and composition. If the appropriate response to a situation depends on the social context, and the so...
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Little evidence of calculated reciprocity has been found in non-human primates so far. In this study, we used a simple experimental set-up to test whether partners pulled a sliding table to altruistically provide food to each other in short-term interactions. We tested 46 dyads of chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, brown capuchin monkeys a...
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Significance Although scientists have identified surprising cognitive flexibility in animals and potentially unique features of human psychology, we know less about the selective forces that favor cognitive evolution, or the proximate biological mechanisms underlying this process. We tested 36 species in two problem-solving tasks measuring self-con...
Data
Appendix S1 Inference of ancestral opsins. Appendix S2 An alternative ancestral inference at site 217. Appendix S3 An alternative scenario of ancestral sequence inference using a different out-group. Materials and Methods S1 PCR and DNA sequencing. Materials and Methods S2 Opsin photopigment reconstitution. Materials and Methods S3 Calculation of J...
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New World monkeys exhibit prominent color vision variation due to allelic polymorphism of the long-to-middle wavelength (L/M) opsin gene. The known spectral variation of L/M opsins in primates is broadly determined by amino acid composition at three sites: 180, 277 and 285 (the "three-sites" rule). However, two L/M opsin alleles found in the black-...
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Contact calls, which function to coordinate group movement and maintain contact between conspecifics, are predicted to show high levels of acoustic variability and individual distinctiveness. We investigated interindividual variation in whinnies, a contact call, between two geographically distinct communities of wild Geoffroyi’s spider monkeys (Ate...
Article
Dispersal patterns are critical for understanding social systems as they influence social interactions and relationships. Spider monkeys (Ateles spp.) are typically described as being characterized by male philopatry and female dispersal, with these patterns reflected in stronger affiliative and cooperative relationships among males than among fema...
Article
Contagious yawning is a form of response facilitation found in humans and other primates in which observing a model yawning enhances the chance that the observer will also yawn. Because contagious yawning seems to be more easily triggered when models are conspecifics or have a strong social bond with the observer, it has been proposed that contagio...
Data
Maps of the HR (lighter tones) and CA (darker tones) polygons for each year of study. Polygons for the W group are shown in green and those for the E group in orange. The thin blue line shows the contour of the Punta Laguna lake. Panel A shows the results of the LoCoH method and Panel B those of the KDE method. Points correspond to the location of...
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Animal home ranges may vary little in their size and location in the short term but nevertheless show more variability in the long term. We evaluated the degree of site fidelity of two groups of spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) over a 10- and 13-year period, respectively, in the northeastern Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. We used the Local Convex Hull...