Male Social Dynamics: Independence and Beyond

Phyllis C. Lee, Joyce H. Poole, Norah Njiraini, Catherine N. Sayialel and Cynthia J. Moss

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:
Male Social Dynamics: Independence and Beyond

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Male elephants interact frequently with other elephants. Young males face feeding competition from females and other males, and all males compete over access to females. Rates of aggression among mature adult males tend to be high. Competition obviously affects male grouping and associations, which are explored further in this chapter. This chapter first addresses how young, sexually active, non-musth males associate with other elephants and then discusses how being an older musth male affects sociality. Early in life, males have high energy costs due to growth and a high rate of mortality; with age, the growth costs diminish, but competitive costs increase. The chapter explores social dynamics from a developmental perspective—as a process of long duration—and with respect to the attainment of full socio-sexual functioning.

Keywords: male elephants; young males; competition; musth male; sociality; mortality; sexual functioning

Chapter.  7190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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