LIZ CAMPBELL In Morocco, sociable Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) are more likely to last through harsh winters, finds a new study published this week (May 30) in Scientific Reports. Researchers observing these monkeys found that by coming together in large groups, the macaques were able to conserve their energy for growth and reproduction. When temperatures dropped or precipitation increased, monkeys with more grooming partners would keep warmer than those with fewer partners.
“Social thermoregulation through huddling, communal nesting or communal roosting, is a very widespread behavior across a range of species, and this could therefore be a very widespread mechanism linking sociality with an evolutionary advantage,” says Liz Campbell, a coauthor on the paper, in a statement.
L.A.D. Campbell et al., “Social thermoregulation as a potential mechanism linking sociality and fitness: Barbary macaques with more social partners form larger huddles,” Sci Rep, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-24373-4, 2018.