The Importance of Being Sneaky; June 1995; Scientific American Magazine; by Zorpette; 3 Page(s)
Power is the great aphrodisiac," Henry Kissinger once boasted to a newspaper. For cabinet officials and baboons, it may very well be, but for rhesus and possibly other macaques, novelty is beginning to look like an even stronger lure.
DNA fingerprinting and other data show that low-ranking males in a freeranging troop of rhesus macaques have considerable reproductive success--so much, in fact, that researchers are having difficulty reconciling their results with the traditional view of paternity as a simple perquisite of high rank. The finding and related observations suggest that procreation of some wild macaques is tied up with strategies and patterns of emigration, rank and female preference. The news "makes social organization more complex and more interesting, " says Irwin S. Bernstein of the University of Georgia at Athens.