Social Groups

Most, if not all, primates are social animals. With that being said though, there are many different types of social groups that we can see in different primate species. Some primate species, like the baboons that live on the African Savannah, form groups that have many males and many females all living together. Other primates, like the gorillas that live in the forests of Africa, form groups that have one male and many females. Large groups of primates are called troops. Gibbons and siamangs are special though, they form a really unique social group for primates. Gibbons and siamangs live in groups with one male and one female. Groups that have one male and one female are called monogamous pairs.

In this picture, the female is the gibbon on the left, with the cream-colored fur!

In nature, there are two main types of monogamy. They are called facultative monogamy and obligate monogamy. In facultative monogamy, the primates are monogamous (form a couple) because the animals are spaced so far apart in their environment that they donít come across each other enough to form a multi-male/multi-female group or a single male/multi-female group. In obligate monogamy, the primates are monogamous because the baby needs so much care from the parents that it would be impossible for the mother to take care of it by herself. While gibbons and siamangs are rare in their native habitats, it appears as though they are monogamous due to obligate monogamy and that the male and female both need to raise the offspring together. 


CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.