Chapter

Friends and Relations: Kinship and the Nature of Female Elephant Social Relationships

Elizabeth A. Archie, Cynthia J. Moss and Susan C. Alberts

in The Amboseli Elephants

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226542232
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226542263 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226542263.003.0015
Friends and Relations: Kinship and the Nature of Female Elephant Social Relationships

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This chapter reviews the role that kinship plays in the spatial and social relationships that occur among adult female African elephants in Amboseli. First, it describes the range of genetic relationships that occur among adult females that live in the same family group. Long-term observations indicate that nearly all female elephants are matrilocal. The chapter then describes the correlation between kinship and the patterns of fission and fusion within families. The degree to which kin are predictably together in the same group determines the opportunities that individuals have to influence their indirect fitness. Next, the chapter moves beyond family-level association patterns and describes the degree to which kinship predicts fission and fusion between family groups across the population. Finally, it investigates whether kinship influences affiliative, cooperative, and competitive social relationships by first discussing whether female elephants seem to discriminate among affiliative and cooperative social partners on the basis of kinship and then investigating whether kinship predicts dominance-rank relationships.

Keywords: kinship; female elephants; social relationship; African elephants; Amboseli; family groups; social partners

Chapter.  5239 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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