Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Primate Behavior

Committee Chair

Jessica Mayhew

Second Committee Member

Lori Sheeran

Third Committee Member

Lixing Sun


This thesis is composed of a journal-ready article and an accompanying appendix containing data and figures. In this thesis, I statistically analyzed the relationship between player age, player sex, genetic kinship and social play duration in juvenile Tibetan macaques.

Chapter I provides a general introduction and addresses current and past literature on the behavior, ecology and play among macaque genera and Tibetan macaques within this study. I review the fitness benefits of play behavior and the influence of kin selection on macaque social life. Additionally, I review the existing literature on Tibetan macaque play and how the current study will contribute to the literature.

Chapter II expands upon current literature on Tibetan macaque social play by considering the influence of genetic kinship on total play duration. Obtained from calculating the kinship coefficient of each juvenile within the group (through known pedigree data), the results indicated that there was a significant positive correlation between total play duration and genetic kinship of play partners. I propose that kin biased selection among the juveniles within this group is facilitated through social play events. This is supported both by the significant correlation found in this study and the existing literature on social partner development during juvenile life.

Chapter III provides general conclusions drawn from this study and how it contributes to the understanding of Tibetan macaque play behavior. Lastly, future studies are considered to continue the expansion knowledge surrounding macaque and primate play.