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Conclusion

Understanding social hierarchies in nature is an important endeavor for institutions that raise animals in captivity. Knowing the composition of social groups in the wild will help reduce and even prevent aggression events within exhibits since some communities function best with a certain sex ratio such as C. petaurista. It is also beneficial to understand the source of aggression incidents in certain species to understand how to reduce them. For example, in C. petaurista, food sparks many aggression incidents because they are behaviorally adapted for intraspecific competition because of the species' lifestyle in the wild. Being able to determine the social status of an animal is another important ability in caring for captive animals. Dominant individuals will often restrict submissive individuals from important resources such as food or shelter (Rees 2011). By being able to determine which animal has a lower social status, care can be adapted to ensure that particular animal is receiving the resources it needs to remain healthy. By way of example, the keepers at the Central Florida Zoo apply this knowledge in the care of Mama by slipping her extra food when the more dominant individuals are not aware. The results of this study have shown that agonistic fights and social grooming behavior are both influenced by social rank and can help determine the social hierarchy of a C. petaurista community. The highest-ranking member should have the most victories in agonistic fights with every member of a group and receive more individual grooming sessions as the most desirable grooming partner. Lower ranking members are dominated by all other members of a group in agonistic fights and receive the least grooming sessions from other members. To expand on these results, repeating this study among a larger community of C. petaurista would help solidify the relevance of the Seyfarth Model and investigate the full extent of the effect reciprocal grooming has within the female population of a group over average grooming length. Such a study could determine if the trends observed within the data persist in larger communities of C. petaurista or if the small group number of this study skewed the results by causing a change in behavior from what is expressed outside captivity. Wild populations of C. petaurista have more female members, have malemale competition as dispersed males fight group leaders for their position on the hierarchy, and polyspecific interactions with neighboring arboreal primate populations (Buzzard 2010).

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