Facial width-to-height ratio is associated with agonistic and affiliative dominance in bonobos (Pan paniscus)

Jordan Martin, Nicky Staes, Alexander Weiss, Jeroen M. G. Stevens, Adrian Jaeggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is associated with social dominance in human and non-human primates, which may reflect the effects of testosterone on facial morphology and behavior. Given that testosterone facilitates status-seeking motivation, the association between fWHR and behavior should be contingent on the relative costs and benefits of particular dominance strategies across species and socioecological contexts. We tested this hypothesis in bonobos (Pan paniscus), who exhibit female dominance and rely on both affiliation and aggression to achieve status. We measured fWHR from facial photographs, affiliative dominance with Assertiveness personality scores, and agonistic dominance with behavioral data. Consistent with our hypothesis, agonistic and affiliative dominance predicted fWHR in both sexes independent of age and body weight, supporting the role of status-seeking motivation in producing the link between fWHR and socioecologically relevant dominance behavior across primates.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBiology letters
Volume15
Issue number8
Early online dateAug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • fWHR
  • dominance
  • motivation
  • personality
  • bonobo

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