Comparison of the social systems of primates and feral horses: data from a newly established horse research site on Serra D’Arga, northern Portugal
Monamie Ringhofer, Sota Inoue, Renata S. Mendonça, Carlos Pereira, Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Satoshi Hirata, Shinya YamamotoDOI: 10.1007/s10329-017-0614-y
Horses are phylogenetically distant from primates, but considerable behavioral links exist between the two. The sociality of horses, characterized by group stability, is similar to that of primates, but different from that of many other ungulates. Although horses and primates are good models for exploring the evolution of societies in human and non-human animals, fewer studies have been conducted on the social system of horses than primates. Here, we investigated the social system of feral horses, particularly the determinant factors of single-male/multi-male group dichotomy, in light of hypotheses derived from studies of primate societies. Socioecological data from 26 groups comprising 208 feral horses on Serra D'Arga, northern Portugal suggest that these primate-based hypotheses cannot adequately explain the social system of horses. In view of the sympatric existence of multi- and single-male groups, and the frequent intergroup transfers and promiscuous mating of females with males of different groups, male–female relationships of horses appear to differ from those of polygynous primates.
Polygyny, Single-male/multi-male dichotomy, Society, Group-living animals, Sexual conflict,