Deciphering the Social Organization and Structure of Wild Yunnan Snub-Nosed Monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti)

Cyril C. Grueter, Dayong Li, Baoping Ren, Fuwen Wei, Ming Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The social organization of natural groups of Rhinopithecus bieti (Yunnan snub-nosed monkey) is virtually unknown. We studied the demography and social structure of a free-ranging group at Samage Forest, China, for nearly 2 years. This study confirmed that R. bieti exhibits a multilevel social organization of core 1-male units (OMUs) that congregate in a band of >400 members. Even though the band appeared to be unified for the most part, we also witnessed occasional fission-fusion. OMUs were cohesive entities, and their members were spatially and socially isolated from members of other OMUs. Large all-male units associated with the band, and when they closely followed OMUs there was a tendency for elevated male aggression. Within OMUs, females associated preferentially with males and vice versa, resulting in a bisexually bonded society. Contrary to other Asian colobines, R. bieti were comparatively social, with grooming occupying 7.3% of the time. Social grooming was primarily a female affair, but males also participated in grooming networks. The integration of males into the social network of the OMU is thought to help to maintain OMU integrity and cohesion with other social units being in close proximity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-383
Number of pages26
JournalFolia Primatologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


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