The Social Organization and Behavior in Non-Human Primates

The tactics that non-human primates always use to satiate their three basic needs—finding food, avoiding predators, and engaging in reproduction—can be seen as the source of their social organization. It will be crucial for non-human primates to coordinate their efforts through the establishment of social groups in order to satisfy all three basic needs (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 92). Different studies have shown that the non-human primates, just like the human beings, have a remarkable variability of social organization and behavior, both between and within the species (Southwick and Siddiqi 398). On the same note, it has been developed that there are different factors which can be used to determine the behavioral organization among the different non-human primates. These factors include; the patterns of grouping, social organization, the mating system, methods for communication and socialization, grooming, parental care, territoriality, and the aggressiveness in behavior (Southwick and Siddiqi 398).

On the determination of the social organization of the non-human primates, different studies have been done which have their findings being correlated between diet, the ranging size of the group and their body sizes (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 91). It is therefore important to note that of the determined social systems of the non-human primates, the activities of the non-human primates can be contrasted through the application of different forms, which include; solitariness and group living, monogamy and polygamy, and reproduction process through one male and reproduction process through use of several males per group.

Research Results and Conclusion

According to Southwick and Siddiqi (398), the social organization and behavior of the non-human primates can be classified into various forms which include; play and grooming, the home range, aggressiveness of their behavior, territorialism, communication methods, socialization and parental care, grouping patterns and their systems of mating.


Communication is a very important tool which is not only being used by the primate to fulfill their social life but also the other animals, including the human beings. Through the application of descriptive field studies and detailed ethological analysis, it has been easier to determine the methods of communication which the primates use amongst themselves. These methods range from posture, use of gestures, vocalization, and facial expression and pheromones (Southwick and Siddiqi 401). To further enhance their communication process, the primates are always incorporating their sensory systems such as those which help in the attainment of the vision, articulation of audio and smell thorough the olfaction systems (Itani 595).

Many of the primates, such as the gibbons and howlers, there is the predomination of the use of the vocal-auditory mode of communication. Contrary to this, the gestural-visual mode of communication is widely used among the terrestrial macaques and the baboons (Southwick and Siddiqi 401). With the development of the modern technology, it has been established that through the use of gestures and the American Sign Language for the deaf, the human beings and the chimpanzees have been able to communicate in the laboratory.

Home Range

There is a lot of variation regarding the home range among the non-human primates, just like it happens among other species in different habitats. The size of the home range in which these animals will be found will depend upon several factors such as the distribution of resources and the nature of the environment (Southwick and Siddiqi 403). It is therefore important to note that the primates which will be found within the same home range will have a higher probability of interaction with each other than those which are from distant home range (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 99). The home range can, therefore, defined as the average maximum distance which these non-human primates can cover during the process of food searching and group strolling in the different forests (Itani 605).

The Aggressive Behaviors

Based on the fact that different primates have different forms and frequencies of aggression, hence this can be used to illustrate the prominent contrast among different non-human pirates. According to Southwick and Siddiqi (403), it is a traditional belief that the non-human pirates are aggressive and violent. The levels of aggressiveness among these primates play a key role in ensuring that they adapt easily to the new environment and that when the aggressiveness is controlled, it can be used a valuable survival. In a situation whereby the primates are raised in a very competitive environment, some of the primates to survive in competitive communities and hence utilization of different habitats.

As a social organization of the non-human primates, the level of aggression amongst them does always take place in different arrangements and configurations that are from the ritualized communications to the undecorated unconcealed fighting (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 96). Based on the results from the different studies which were conducted on the role of aggressiveness on the lifestyle of the primates, it had been determined that there are some species of the primates which are always generally peaceful in their habitats, a good example is the mountain gorilla.


The act of territorialism refers to the process whereby the specific non-human primates either have the active or consistent protection of the part or all of the home range, thereby enabling for the allocation of enough space which their family members can use for the various social activities. Through this, territorialism is considered as one of the most important socio-behavioral systems among the non-human primates.

According to Southwick and Siddiqi (403), there is a universal belief that the group territorialism showed a consistent patterns among the intergroup spacing of most of the species of the primates. This was completely contrary to the findings of the study which was conducted by Van Schaik and Van Hooff (103) which indicated that the territorial patterns about the intergroup spacing of most of the primates are always same. It is therefore important to note that even the closely related primates may possess different traits of territorialism. The existence or inexistence of the territorialism is largely determined by the availability of the food resources.

The System of Mating

Whatever type of mating system that is used in the social settings of the non-human primates, the main importance of this practice is to ensure that there are continuous reproduction and eventual expansion of the primates’ families (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 92). According to Southwick and Siddiqi (400), there are three fundamental systems of mating which are most common amongst the non-human primates. These include; a monogamous mating system whereby there is only one bonded pair as seen among the gibbons, night monkeys, and titi monkeys. The second form is the harem formation where there is one adult male which is unswervingly mating a cluster of bounded females. The last one is known as the promiscuous mating; this case describes a situation whereby the females do always undergo the mating process with many adult males during one estrous cycle. The type of the mating system which is used among these primates largely depend on the frequency in the number and male and female individuals (Van Schaik and Van Hooff 92).

The Grouping Patterns and Social Organization

Even though it had been found that most of the species of primates are sociable animals which live in different communal assemblies, the range for the sizes of the group is very prodigious, and limited of the species are found to have solitary habitats. The number of the individual primates which are found in a group leads to the variation of this form of social organization, with the number ranging from two to seven hundred per group. In that cases, it has been developed that there are six main categories of the social groupings among the primates Southwick and Siddiqi (398).

They include; solitary, with exemptions of the mother-offspring relationship, monogamous pairs adults accompanied by the offspring, single male groups which have one male adult, attached females and offspring, aggregate single-male groups, containing large numbers of single-male units which are clustered into lager assembly. The other ones are the multiple-male groups containing a number of adult males which are hierarchically placed with the allied females and offspring and diffuse parties without the stable group formation Southwick and Siddiqi (398). The distribution of these primates into various social groups play a very important role in ensuring that they remain closely associated with each other for food searching or reproduction process.

Socialization and Prenatal Care

Just as observed in the case of the human beings and other mammals, the primate do always have long infant dependency periods. A good example in the monkey which would be expectant for twelve months, after that the social relationship with the mother ranging between two to three years. According to the study conducted by Itani (595), it was developed that the long mother-child relationship plays an important role in ensuring that there is that social relationship among different families.

There is always need of working together as a team; it was, therefore, important for the primate families to come up with such groups through socialization. Even though most of the common pattern of the parental care is associated with the material care, it is well characterized by marmosets, where the father is always in the central role of carrying and protecting the infants and can give them back to the mothers if there is any need for nursing (Southwick and Siddiqi 402). On the same note, the infant languor is believed to have a comprehensive socialization capability with many of the adult females and youngsters in the group within the first few days.


The non-human primates also have a well-organized social and behavioral organizations which play a very vital role in determining their relationship with each other. According to the findings of this study, it is justifiable to say that the non-human primates can be socially organized through socialization and parental care, group patterns, and social organizations, mating systems, territorialism, aggressive behavior, home range and communication. Therefore from the analysis, it can be noted that the group sizes of the non-human primates ranged between two and seven hundred, mating patterns monogamy to polygamy, the communication system being done through sensory modalities, and socialization process being restricted within or completely open out of the home range. The non-human primates have been able to build their relationships through these attributes and have been able to achieve success with the help of their facility for the behavioral and social diversity.

Works Cited

Itani, Junichiro. “The Evolution of Primate Social Structures.” Man, vol. 20, no. 4, 1985, pp. 593-611. 

Southwick, Charles H., and M. Farooq Siddiqi. “Contrasts in Primate Social Behavior.” Bioscience, vol. 24, no. 7, 1974, pp. 398-406. 

Van Schaik, C.P., and J.A.R.A.M. Van Hooff. “On The Ultimate Causes of Primate Social Systems.” Behavior, vol. 85, no. 1, 1983, pp. 91-117. 

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