Male monkeys’ social bonds may ease everyday stress

wild Barbary macaques

Strong bonds among wild male Barbary macaques may help the monkeys combat stress.

Hilgartner, Affenberg Salem

Male bonding may help some monkeys fight the ill effects of everyday stress.

Usually when male primates live in groups with other males, the guys tend to fight over girls. But while studying wild Barbary macaques, scientists found that males with strong social ties to other males had lower stress hormones in their feces than males with weaker bonds. The results suggest that the stress-reducing benefit of friendship extends far beyond that seen among females and pair-living animals, the researchers report in the December 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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