Reduced injury risk links sociality to survival in a group-living primate

Melissa A. Pavez-Fox*, Clare M. Kimock, Nahiri Rivera-Barreto, Josue E. Negron-Del Valle, Daniel Phillips, Angelina Ruiz-Lambides, Noah Snyder-Mackler, James P. Higham, Erin R. Siracusa, Lauren J.N. Brent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sociality has been linked to a longer lifespan in many mammals, including humans. Yet, how sociality results in survival benefits remains unclear. Using 10 years of data and over 1,000 recorded injuries in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), we tested two injury-related mechanisms by which social status and affiliative partners might influence survival. Injuries increased individual risk of death by 3-fold in this dataset. We found that sociality can affect individuals’ survival by reducing their risk of injury but had no effect on the probability of injured individuals dying. Both males and females of high social status (measured as female matrilineal rank and male group tenure) and females with more affiliative partners (estimated using the number of female relatives) experienced fewer injuries and thus were less likely to die. Collectively, our results offer rare insights into one mechanism that can mediate the well-known benefits of sociality on an individual’s fitness.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105454
Number of pages17
Issue number11
Early online date12 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2022


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