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Title: Infant Handling and Allonursing in White-Faced Capuchins (Cebus capucinus)
Author: Sargeant, Elizabeth
Advisor: Fedigan, Linda
Keywords: Anthropology
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2014
Abstract: The proposed adaptive functions of infant handling in primates are numerous, and its expression within the primate order is highly variable. This study aims to investigate several proposed functions for infant handling behaviours in white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus). I followed 21 infants for 10-minute focal animal samples over the course of two field seasons. My data suggests that the motivations, and benefits of infant handling vary depending on the interactant and that no single adaptive function can explain the observed patterns of infant handling in this species. I found the strongest support for the learning-to-mother, alliance-formation, maternal kinship and milk-acquisition hypotheses. I also found support that infant handling likely provides infants with survival benefits and that the form of infant handling in this species can be considered a highly cooperative expression of communal care by all group members.
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