Callitrichid responses to dead and dying infants: the effects of paternal bonding and cause of death.

Title

Callitrichid responses to dead and dying infants: the effects of paternal bonding and cause of death.

Creator

Thompson Cynthia L; Hrit Rebecca; Melo Leonardo C O; Vinyard Christopher J; Bottenberg Kimberly N; de Oliveira Maria A B

Publisher

Primates; journal of primatology

Date

2020
2020-05-14

Description

Many primates show responses to dead infants, yet testing explanations for these behaviors has been difficult. Callitrichids present a unique opportunity to delineate between hypotheses, since unlike most species, male caretakers form closer social bonds with infants than mothers. Callitrichids are also known to commit infanticide, leaving obvious wounds that may enable them to more readily recognize death. We present: (1) a case study of a wild common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) group responding to an infant's natural death, and (2) a review of published infant deaths across callitrichids (N = 16), testing for trends in the sex of reacting individuals and cause of death. In our case study, several group members frequently interacted with the dead infant, attempting to carry it. However, the strongest response was from a male that remained with the corpse for ~ 3 h, despite his group leaving the area. Across callitrichid species, corpse interactions were significantly sex-biased: 100% (N = 6) of accidental deaths involved corpse interaction by males (p = 0.007), compared to 60% (N = 3 of 5) by females (p = 0.095). Cause of death also played a significant role, with individuals attempting to carry dead infants in 100% (N = 6) of accidental deaths, but only 11.1% (N = 1 of 9) of infanticides (p = 0.001). Although the available literature is small and potentially subject to publication biases, these data support the idea that visually obvious wounds may influence callitrichids' perception of dead conspecifics. Additionally, male-biased patterns of corpse interaction in callitrichids indicate that social bonds likely shape reactions to the dead, in addition to kinship. While published data on primate thanatology are limited, this study demonstrates quantitative approaches that can provide empirical insights into primates' responses to dead conspecifics.

Subject

Animacy detection; care; common marmosets; Dead-infant carrying; Death; female; Infanticide; Marmoset; Quantitative methods; tamarins; Thanatology

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Format

journalArticle

Search for Full-text

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ISSN

1610-7365 0032-8332

NEOMED College

NEOMED College of Medicine

NEOMED Department

Department of Anatomy & Neurobiology

Update Year & Number

June 2020 Update II

Citation

Thompson Cynthia L; Hrit Rebecca; Melo Leonardo C O; Vinyard Christopher J; Bottenberg Kimberly N; de Oliveira Maria A B, “Callitrichid responses to dead and dying infants: the effects of paternal bonding and cause of death.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed June 23, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/11094.

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