Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2009
The literature often contrasts features of the social organization of cercopithecines with that of other taxa, including colobines (McKenna, 1979; Borries et al., 1994; Newton and Dunbar 1994), platyrhines (O'Brien, 1993), and apes (Watts, 1994). Most of what we know about “cercopithecine” social organization, however, derives from studies of only a few species, namely baboons (Papio and Theropithecus), some macaques (Macaca), and vervet monkeys and their relatives (Chlorocebus) (Erwin and Zucker, 1987; Strier, 1990), even though these species do not provide a representative sample of cercopithecine genera or of habitats in which cercopithecine monkeys live. In particular, the social organization of the African forest-dwelling cercopithecins (Cercopithecus, Miopithecus, and Allenopithecus) is poorly known. The forested habitat and arboreal habits of these monkeys make study in the wild difficult, and captive groups of naturalistic size do not exist.
Some recent publications have begun to provide information on cercopithecine species previously overlooked, especially lesser-known papionins, mostly studied in captivity (e.g. Baker and Estep, 1985; Ehardt, 1988; Oi, 1990; Thierry et al., 1990; Gust and Gordon, 1993, 1994; Gust, 1994, 1995). In an attempt to correct prevalent generalizations about cercopithecine social organization by including cercopithecins, Rowell (1988) contrasted their social organization with that of the better-known papionins.