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Cheating monkeys try to hide their infidelity

Theory predicts that cheating individuals should alter their behaviour to avoid detection, yet empirical data for such ‘deceptive’ behaviour (and its putative consequence—punishment) is almost entirely absent from the literature. This dearth of evidence, particularly among primates, limits our understanding of the evolution of deception and punishment. Here, we quantify deception and punishment in a reproductive context in wild geladas (Theropithecus gelada). Individuals involved in extra-pair copulations (9% of observed copulations) exhibited behaviour consistent with tactical deception: they were less likely to vocalize and more likely to copulate when the cuckolded male was a sizable distance away (>20 m). Further, many extra-pair copulations (~20%) elicited post-copulatory aggression—likely, punishment—from cuckolded males. This rare empirical evidence of both tactical concealment and retaliatory aggression offers a potential model system for examining the co-occurrence of deception and punishment in natural settings…>>>more

Categorías:Gender
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